Czech EU presidency spokesman kept on despite sparking diplomatic row

05-01-2009

The spokesman for the Czech prime minister during the Czech presidency of the European Union, Jiří Potužník, is being allowed to stay in the post, despite sparking a diplomatic row by describing Israel’s attacks on Gaza as “more defensive than offensive”. Mr Potužník told the news agency AFP that was the position of the Czech prime minister, before later saying his words had been misconstrued. The faux pas was described as a serious mistake by the Czech foreign minister, Karel Schwarzenberg. However, the minister said the Czech Republic did not need to issue an apology for the statement, which was condemned by an aide of the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.