The conversation then drifted to Netanyahu, at which time Sarkozy declared: "I cannot stand him. He is a liar." According to the report, Obama replied: "You're fed up with him, but I have to deal with him every day!"
The remark was naturally meant to be said in confidence, but the two leaders' microphones were accidently left on, making the would-be private comment embarrassingly public.
The communication faux pas went unnoticed for several minutes, during which the conversation between the two heads of state – which quickly reverted to other matters – was all but open to members the press, who were still in possession of headsets provided by the Elysée for the sake of simultaneous translation during the G20 press conference.
"By the time the (media) services at the Elysée realize it, it was on for at least three minutes," one journalist told the website. Still, he said that reporters "did not have a chance to take advantage of this fluke."
The surprising lack of coverage may be explained by a report alleging that reporters present at the event were requested to sign an agreement to keep mum on the subject of the embarrassing comments.