I’m not sure why (boredom?), but I found this report that U.S. and North Korean negotiators are staying at the same hotel in Geneva interesting. According to the article, during the State Department’s endless job security for diplomats program (also known as, ‘nuclear disarmament talks with North Korea’), negotiators from the two sides have never before stayed at the same hotel during talks.
Staying in the same place will likely lead to a more relaxed atmosphere, impromptu and informal contacts, and maybe even a few secret discussions – the kind of relationship building necessary to encourage risk-taking and fresh ideas – the exact needs of the current negotiations. While a breakthrough is difficult to expect, this kind of meeting could lay the groundwork for actual ‘progress’ in the discussions and overall relations. Keeping in mind that progress in negotiations with the North is often ethereal, best measured in microns, and rarely sustainable.