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Middle east

Sarkozy calls Netanyahu 'a liar' in remarks to Obama

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-11-08

In overheard remarks to US President Barack Obama at the G20 summit last week, French President Nicolas Sarkozy called Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu a "liar", according to Israeli media. "I have to deal with him every day," Obama replied.

AFP - French President Nicolas Sarkozy called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a "liar" in talks with US President Barack Obama, who then complained of having to deal with him daily, a report said Tuesday.

The private conversation, held during the G20 summit in the French city of Cannes last week, was overheard by a number of journalists after it was inadvertently transmitted over a system used for translation, media website Arret sur Images reported.

"I can't see him anymore, he's a liar," Sarkozy said in French during the talks.

"You may be sick of him, but me, I have to deal with him every day," Obama replied in comments that were translated into French.

A number of journalists contacted by AFP confirmed hearing the remarks.

Without providing further quotes, the website said Obama had also chastised Sarkozy for not having informed the United States of France's plans to vote in favour of Palestinian membership in UN cultural agency UNESCO.

Journalists were able to hear the conversation after they were given translation devices for a press conference but told they would receive headphones later, the website reported.

Plugging their own headphones into the devices, they realised they could hear the French translation of the conversation between the two leaders.

The website quoted a number of journalists saying a group decision was made not to report the conversation as it was considered private and off-the-record.

The story of the remarks was carried on the websites of most major Israeli dailies, although not by Israel Hayom, which is considered close to Netanyahu.

The premier's office had no immediate reaction to the report and the foreign ministry refused to comment.

Israel public radio correspondent Gidon Kutz, who covered the Cannes summit, said journalists who overheard the private conversation had agreed not to report the story due to "correctness and in order not to embarrass the presidential press service."

Date created : 2011-11-08

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