The French President Nicolas Sarkozy and President Barack Obama were reportedly caught by many journalists criticizing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week.
Sarkozy and Obama were in a private exchange at G20 summit in Cannes, and apparently did not realize that their microphones were on for the press conference. Some journalists, who had their headphones on for translation, caught the remarks.
"I cannot stand him. He's a liar," Sarkozy told Obama. The U.S. president responded by saying: "You're fed up with him? I have to deal with him every day."
French media remained silent about the gaffe for several days until the French website Arrêt Sur Images first reported the conversation late on Monday.
According to Sur Images while the two presidents were in a closed room in private discussions before press conference, élysée staff handed out translation sets to journalists.
The translation sets were handed out but were not to be used immediately as private conversations were still going on. However, some reporters immediately plugged in their headphones and heard three minutes of the exchange.
According to Arret Sur all the reporters who listened to the private conversation agreed not to publish details. However, it remains unclear why the publication decided to report the exchange that was later confirmed by Reuters.
The White House did not comment about the exchange when asked by The New York Times.
In order to reach a final peace, France and the United States are urging Israel and the Palestinians to re-launch negotiations.