Sarkozy: Netanyahu Is A 'Liar,' Journalists Reportedly Overhear French President Tell Obama
In this image from French TV, showing the TV interview with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, left, and U.S. President Barack Obama, in Cannes, France, during a national TV broadcast Friday, Nov. 4, 2011. (AP Photo/TF1/FR2)
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In a meeting with Barack Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy confided in the U.S. president that he thinks Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a liar, the BBC reports
According to The Guardian
, President Sarkozy did not realize his microphone was live when he spoke with President Obama as part of the G-20 meetings in Cannes, France.
According to the report first published on the French website Arret Sur Images
, Obama also criticized Sarkozy for not telling him in advance that France planned to vote in favor of the Palestinians' UNESCO membership bid. The conversation then turned to Netanyahu, The New York Times reports
"I cannot stand him," Mr. Sarkozy was quoted as saying. "He is a liar." Mr. Obama is reported to have replied, "You're fed up with him, but I have to deal with him every day!"
The remarks reportedly were overheard by half a dozen journalists. A reporter from Reuters
also confirmed "the veracity of the comments."
A BBC correspondent notes
that the French media initially kept quiet about the diplomatic faux pas so as not to embarrass President Sarkozy. Israeli media outlets, however, published the frank exchange in full
The White House has not yet issued a statement on the matter.