French President Nicolas Sarkozy called the Israeli Prime Minister ‘a liar’ during the G20 summit in Cannes.
The remark about Benjamin Netanyahu was made in private to US President Barack Obama, but overheard by journalists as the leaders did not realise that microphones were switched on.
Sarkozy said he ‘could not bear’ Netanyahu, and Obama replied that even though Sarkozy was fed up, he himself still had to deal with Netanyahu more often.
The remarks were not reported at the time because they were considered to be off-the-record, but they have since made it to media around the world.
It is not clear exactly why Sarkozy criticised Netanyahu. However, European diplomats have expressed anger at Israel’s plans for large-scale settlements and largely blamed the country for the deterioration in peace talks.