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European Union briefly invokes ‘State of Palestine’

EU foreign policy desk scrambles to change wording of statement, attributes formulation to ‘technical error’

Raphael Ahren is the diplomatic correspondent at The Times of Israel.

EU Foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini meets Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the European Union External Action headquarters in Brussels on Monday, October 26, 2015 (PHOTO / EMMANUEL DUNAND)
EU Foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini meets Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the European Union External Action headquarters in Brussels on Monday, October 26, 2015 (PHOTO / EMMANUEL DUNAND)

The European Union on Tuesday for a short while appeared to have formally recognized a Palestinian state, but later backtracked, saying the ostensible change in policy was due to a “technical error.”

A statement published by the union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, initially referred to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas “the President of the State of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas.”

The European Parliament and parliaments from several EU member states have recognized a Palestinian state, as has the government of Sweden.

But the union’s External Action Service – its foreign policy branch – has not followed suit, avoiding any mentioning of the phrase “State of Palestine.”

A few hours after Mogherini’s statement was posted on the EEAS website it was amended to refer to the Palestinian leader as “Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.”

Responding to a question as to whether the EU had recognized a Palestinian state, the Twitter feed of the EU’s mission in Israel explained that “this was just a technical error that has already been corrected.”

Mogherini met Abbas late Monday in Brussels to discuss steps to calm the current wave of terrorism.

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