Expectations for mishaps during the Czech presidency of the European Union Council had focused on its Eurosceptic president, Mr Klaus. But his hand is nowhere to be found in this embarrassing statement issued today by the EU presidency --
Official EU Presidency Statement concerning the situation in the Middle East
The only official standpoint of the Czech EU Presidency concerning the actions of the Israeli ground forces in the Gaza Strip.
I would like to apologise for the misunderstanding which occurred on 3 January 2009 about the reaction of the Czech Presidency to the actions of the Israeli ground forces in the Gaza Strip according to which the operations were seen as an act of self-defence. The only official standpoint of the Czech Presidency is the following:
"It is not surprising that the Israeli forces have launched land operations in the Gaza Strip. There were indications that Israel had been considering this step. But even the undisputable right of the state to defend itself does not allow actions which largely affect civilians. We call for the facilitation of humanitarian aid to the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, and in accordance with the position agreed by the EU Foreign Ministers in Paris on the 30th December 2008 we call for the establishment of a ceasefire."
An earlier statement by a Czech spokesman quickly found its way to jubilant conservative bloggers. Are the Czechs going to tell us what happened?