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Same Call, Different Accounts

By Glenn Kessler
Presidents of different countries talk to each other all the time, but sometimes you get a rare glimpse of how each side characterizes the call differently. That was the case today concerning a call between President Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Both sides said that the conversation concerned climate change and Iran's nuclear ambitions. But the White House left out key details that the French wanted to emphasize.

The French version of call noted they "agreed to step up consultations" on reaching a climate change deal before a key meeting in Copenhagen; the White House only said they "discussed strategies."

And on Iran, the French version said they hoped for "decisive progress" on talks with Iran and that Iran's cooperation would be "assessed" by the end of the year. The White House left out any mention of deadlines and simply noted they "discussed the need to continue a unified international approach" on Iran.

Neither account says who placed the call.

Below are the full texts of the two statements, first by the White House and then from France.

Readout of the President's call with French President Sarkozy:

The President and President Sarkozy had a friendly and productive call today as part of their ongoing consultations on shared U.S.-French strategic priorities. The two leaders discussed strategies to confront the threat of climate change and committed to work together in the lead up to the Copenhagen summit.

The President and the President Sarkozy also discussed the need to continue a unified international approach to address Iran's nuclear ambitions. The President appreciates the leadership of President Sarkozy on these and other issues on our shared strategic agenda.


The President of the Republic spoke by phone this evening with the American President, Barack Obama, about the negotiations under way on climate change ahead of the Copenhagen Conference at the end of the year, and the upcoming dates in the dialogue conducted by the Six with Iran.

With respect to climate, the two Presidents agreed to step up consultations between France, the European Union and the United States in order to contribute to the success of the Copenhagen Summit.

As for Iran, the two Presidents expressed the hope that reviving the dialogue will lead to decisive progress in the coming weeks in accordance with Iran's international obligations, and noted that Iranian cooperation will be assessed by the end of the year.

By Web Politics Editor  |  October 14, 2009; 8:48 PM ET
Categories:  Foggy Bottom  
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