Sarkozy: "I cannot stand Netanyahu. He is a liar."

Barack Obama and Nicolas Sarkozy caught on microphone criticising the Israeli PM.

Barack Obama and Nicolas Sarkozy caught on microphone criticising the Israeli PM.

You'd think politicians would have learnt to check whether their microphones were switched off, by now -- but apparently not.

The latest to be caught out are Nicolas Sarkozy, and Barack Obama, who were caught criticising Binyamin Netanyahu in a private conversation at the G20 summit -- unaware that this private exchange was being broadcast to a small group of journalists.

The gaffe took place during a frank exchange where Obama took Sarkozy to task for not warning him that France would backing Palestine's request for membership of the UN cultural heritage agency, Unesco. Referring to the Israeli prime minister, Sarkozy told Obama: "I cannot stand him. He's a liar." The US President responded: "You're fed up with him? I have to deal with him every day."

Apparently, neither leader realised that microphones that had been attached for a press conference were still switched on. The comments initially went unreported, until French website Arrêt Sur Images reported it today. A Reuters journalist, also present, confirmed this account.

 

Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.

Photo: Getty
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Cabinet audit: what does the appointment of Liam Fox as International Trade Secretary mean for policy?

The political and policy-based implications of the new Secretary of State for International Trade.

Only Nixon, it is said, could have gone to China. Only a politician with the impeccable Commie-bashing credentials of the 37th President had the political capital necessary to strike a deal with the People’s Republic of China.

Theresa May’s great hope is that only Liam Fox, the newly-installed Secretary of State for International Trade, has the Euro-bashing credentials to break the news to the Brexiteers that a deal between a post-Leave United Kingdom and China might be somewhat harder to negotiate than Vote Leave suggested.

The biggest item on the agenda: striking a deal that allows Britain to stay in the single market. Elsewhere, Fox should use his political capital with the Conservative right to wait longer to sign deals than a Remainer would have to, to avoid the United Kingdom being caught in a series of bad deals. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.