G20 Gaffe: Obama, Sarkozy Reportedly Complain About Israeli Prime Minister
A pair of open microphones reportedly captured French President Nicolas Sarkozy and President Barack Obama complaining about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week.
The diplomatic faux pas occurred following a G20 press conference in Cannes last Thursday, YNetNews reported. The two world leaders had retired to a private room to have a conversation, but failed to turn off their microphones.
According to a report on the French website Arret sur Images, Obama criticized Sarkozy for not telling him in advance that France planned to vote in favor of Palestinian membership bid in UNESCO. The U.S. strongly opposes such membership. Then the conversation drifted to Netanyahu, The New York Times reported:
"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!"
Although the remarks were overheard by half a dozen journalists, who were still wearing headsets to hear translations, French media remained silent about the exchange for several days in an effort not to embarrass Sarkozy, BBC News reported. Israeli media outlets showed no such restraint, publishing the frank exchange in full.
The White House has not yet commented on the matter.