Kerry, Party of 50? Geneva Shuffle

Photograph by Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

EU foreign policy chief’s spokesperson Michael Mann briefs media outside a hotel during talks over Iran’s nuclear program in Geneva on Nov. 21, 2013.

As Iranian foreign ministry officials wrestle with delegates from six world powers — Britain, China, France, Russia, the U.S. and Germany — to find an agreement to slow down Iran’s nuclear program in return for sanctions relief, about 50 journalists are holed up in Geneva’s Intercontinental Hotel where the talks are taking place.

As many as another 100 wait in a convention center about a mile away.

This morning, chief European Union diplomat Catherine Ashton sat down with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. After the session, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said there was a chance of success but the momentum characterizing much of a previous round of talks had slowed.

With little hard news available, many journalists are left to update their Facebook profiles or post messages on their Twitter pages. Ordering food and drink can be prohibitively expensive: The hotel charges $9 for an espresso and about $40 for a hamburger.

There are rumors that Secretary of State John Kerry and other foreign ministers may arrive on Friday. The hotel is kicking out most journalists on Friday, pointing out that there is a prior reservation.

That has set off an scramble to find alternative hotel rooms.

A light snow dusts the streets of Geneva.

If the talks go for much longer, cabin fever may set in.


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