News / Europe

Obama Expresses 'Disappointment' on French Palestinian Vote

U.S. President Barack Obama says he used a private meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy earlier this month to express "significant disappointment" with a French vote in favor of Palestinians joining the U.N. cultural heritage agency, UNESCO.

Obama's private November 3 meeting with Sarkozy ahead of a Group of 20 summit in the French city of Cannes made international headlines after Elysee staff accidentally transmitted part of the leaders' conversation to a group of reporters in another room.

As the reporters listened to simultaneous translation of that conversation, they heard Sarkozy criticize Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a "liar" whom he "cannot bear." With both leaders unaware that their microphones had been turned on, Obama appeared to sympathize with Sarkozy, saying "You may be sick" of Mr. Netanyahu, but "I have to work with him every day."

Asked about those remarks at a news conference in Honolulu late Sunday, Obama said he would not comment on that part of the conversation. But, he said the main point he made to the French president was his disappointment that France voted for the Palestinian Authority to join UNESCO on October 31 despite knowing that such a move would force Washington to cut funding to the agency.

UNESCO members overwhelmingly approved the membership bid by Palestinians, with Israel, the United States and several of their allies voting against.  U.S. laws bar the government from funding any U.N. agency that admits Palestinians as a full member.

Obama said he made the argument to Sarkozy that the only way to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and create a Palestinian state is for both sides to "sit down at the table and negotiate." He said Palestinian efforts to bypass that process by seeking recognition of statehood through the United Nations will not work.

In another development, Israeli aircraft attacked a Hamas militant security post in the northern Gaza Strip late Sunday, killing one Hamas security officer and wounding four others. The Israeli military said it was responding to a rocket attack from Gaza into southern Israel earlier in the day. The rocket caused no damage or casualties.

It was not immediately clear which Palestinian militant group fired the rocket. Israel has said it holds Gaza's Hamas rulers responsible for all attacks emanating from the territory. A series of Israeli air strikes on Gaza and Palestinian rocket attacks on southern Israel killed at least 10 militants and one Israeli civilian late last month.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs