France will stand with Israel, Sarkozy tells Jewish leaders


(JTA) — France will always stand with Israel against Iran’s nuclear threat, French President Nicolas Sarkozy told Jewish leaders.

A delegation from the World Jewish Congress met Wednesday with Sarkozy — a day after reports surfaced that the French leader called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "a liar" in a private conversation with President Obama.

“France will always stand side by side with Israel against an Iran that threatens it by developing nuclear weapons,” Sarkozy said at the meeting, according to a news release issued Wednesday by the WJC, after the delegation had raised the subject of the looming threat of a nuclear-armed Iran.

Sarkozy added that Israel had no better security partner than his government and warned of unilateral actions by Israel against the regime in Tehran.

He tried to reassure the Jewish leaders of his unconditional commitment to Israel’s well-being, according to the WJC statement, and called on Israelis and Palestinians to resume direct negotiations immediately.

Sarkozy said that the Palestinian leadership had to fully endorse the principle of two states for two peoples and accept that Israel was the nation-state of the Jewish people, just as Israel had accepted the right of Palestinians to live in their own nation-state.

The news release made no mention of Sarkozy’s "liar" comment.

The WJC delegation was headed by WJC President Ronald Lauder and the president of the French Jewish umbrella organization CRIF, Richard Prasquier.

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