Foreign minister: statement by spokesman “a serious mistake”

Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said on Sunday that a spokesman for the EU presidency, currently held by Prague, had blundered in describing Israel's ground assault in Gaza as "defensive." "It was his personal mistake," he told Czech TV, adding it was a "serious one." On Saturday Jiří Potužník, Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek's EU presidency spokesman, initially described the Israeli operation as "more defensive than offensive." and told AFP this was the position of the Czech prime minister for the European presidency. The Czech Foreign Ministry later changed tack, while Mr Potužník himself said his words had been misunderstood. The statement on Saturday was denounced by an aide close to the Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, as well by the radical movement Hamas.

Author: Jan Velinger