Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will play one of the lead roles in the Russian delegation's light-hearted events after the Asean summit in Jakarta.
The tradition of having gala concerts during which the members and leaders of the delegation sing and perform comic skits began about five years ago. The performances during this event are taken very seriously and preparations for them sometimes begin months in advance. Members of delegations carefully rehearse their performances, wear costumes and bring props.
The event this Friday in Jakarta was even the subject of conversation between Mr. Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. One of the members of the Russian delegation told RIA Novosti that while at the NATO summit in Istanbul, Mr. Lavrov asked Mr. Powell what the American delegation was preparing. "We are preparing seriously," Mr. Powell said.
The content of the performances remains a secret until they are performed. While he did not reveal any secrets, Mr. Lavrov did tell journalists that there would be a lot of improvisation. "It will not be rehearsed beforehand and improvised," he said. He also said that the preparations for the event were in full swing.
Mr. Lavrov did admit that he would be singing. It has been known for a long time that the minister not only sings, but also writes songs. He is expected to perform in a 6-7 person group which will include two other members of the delegation who play the guitar.
The participants in the event have revealed one secret: the song will have a maritime theme and include jokes about each of the Asean Regional Forum delegation leaders. For the performance, the Russian delegation even has brought costumes from Moscow: caps and stripped vests.
The spectators in the previous events said that the Russian delegation's performance have been big successes. Many people have congratulated the Russian Foreign Ministry actors on their performances. At a previous event, the audience saw the Russians singing humorous limericks about each foreign minister attending the summit and life-size doll of Igor Ivanov, the former Russian foreign minister, mouthing the words like the actors.
The American try to compete with the Russians. Makiko Tanaka, the head of the Japanese delegation, and Mr. Powell did a memorable performance of a scene from, "The Bodyguard."
The only disappointing aspect of this remarkable diplomatic tradition (primarily for journalists) is that it is a private performance. However, this is probably necessary so that the ministers can play jokes on each other as friends. Therefore journalists must persuade the participants to retell the most memorable performances.