Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
What next on Iran’s nuclear deal: follow the news here

Sarkozy overheard saying he can't stand Israel's Netanyahu

Nicolas Sarkozy was talking to the US president, Barack Obama, at the G20 summit in France and was overheard saying he 'can't stand' Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli premier, and called him a liar.

PARIS // The French president has been overheard saying he "can't stand" Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli premier, and called him a liar.

Nicolas Sarkozy was talking to the US president, Barack Obama, on Thursday at the Group of 20 summit in France.

The were overheard while using headsets that would translate a news conference.

Mr Obama was heard asking Mr Sarkozy to help persuade the Palestinians to stop their efforts to gain United Nations recognition of a Palestinian state.

Several French-speaking journalists overheard the comments but did not report them because Mr Sarkozy's office had asked the journalists not to turn on the headsets until the press conference began, and the comments were deemed private under French media traditions.

A French website that analyses media coverage of current affairs, Arret Sur Images, reported the conversation yesterday.

Mr Sarkozy's office would not comment on the remarks or on France's relations with Israel.

The White House and Mr Netanyahu's spokesman also said they had no comment.

Mr Sarkozy said: "Netanyahu, I can't stand him. He's a liar."

Mr Obama allegedly responded: "You are sick of him, but I have to work with him every day."

The journalists heard only fragments of the conversation.

"Obama is wrong," wrote one reader on the Israeli newspaper Haaretz's web site.

"We're the ones that have to deal with him every day." The often blunt Mr Sarkozy has shown little patience with Israeli hard-liners. Two years ago he urged Mr Netanyahu to fire his outspoken foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman.

His latest comments reflect his increasing frustration with Mr Netanyahu, and may complicate French efforts toward Middle East peace. France's government has not said so officially but appears to see Mr Netanyahu as partially responsible for the deadlock in peace talks. France has repeatedly urged Mr Netanyahu to stop building Jewish settlements in the West Bank and come to the negotiating table.

"I think all this must not make us lose sight of the basics - which is to say there's not a minute to lose to continue to work on the Israeli-Palestinian issue," French foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said yesterday.

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greets supporters after his arrival in Zahedan, the regional capital of Sistan and Baluchestan province on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. During Mr Rouhani's two-day visit, he will tour several other cities and hold meetings with local scholars and entrepreneurs. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

On the road with Hassan Rouhani

Iran's president is touring some of Iran's most underdeveloped provinces. Foreign correspondent Yeganeh Salehi is traveling with him.

 The Doha-based Youssef Al Qaradawi speaks to the crowd as he leads Friday prayers in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt in February, 2011. The outspoken pro-Muslim Brotherhood imam has been critical of the UAE’s policies toward Islamist groups, adding to friction between Qatar and other GCC states. Khalil Hamra / AP Photo

Brotherhood imam skips Doha sermon, but more needed for GCC to reconcile

That Youssef Al Qaradawi did not speak raises hopes that the spat involving Qatar and the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain might be slowly moving towards a resolution.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 An Afghan election commission worker carries a ballot box at a vote counting centre in Jalalabad on April 6. A roadside bomb hit a truck carrying full ballot boxes in northern Afghanistan, killing three people a day after the country voted for a successor to President Hamid Karzai. Eight boxes of votes were destroyed in the blast, which came as the three leading candidates voiced concerns about possible fraud. Noorullah Shirzada / AFP Photo

Two pressing questions for Afghanistan’s future president

Once in office, the next Afghan president must move fast to address important questions that will decide the immediate future of the country.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Supporters of Turkey's ruling AKP cheer as they follow the election's results in front of the party's headquarters in Ankara on March 30. Adem Altan/ AFP Photo

Erdogan critic fears retaliation if he returns to Turkey

Emre Uslu is a staunch critic of Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Now, with a mass crackdown on opposition expected, he is unsure when he can return home.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National