- The Washington Times - Friday, July 26, 2013

Secretary of State John Kerry sparked a furor at the United Nations on Thursday, making a mistaken reference to the country of Palestine.

When asked about the flub, The Times of Israel reported he responded: “Did I say that?”

Mr. Kerry was speaking about the “courageous decision” for Israeli and Palestinian officials to head back to peace negotiations, when he said: “It’s my hope that that will be able to happen as procedures are put in place by both countries in order to empower that.”

The State Department quickly clarified.

A spokeswoman told Agence France-Presse that U.S. policy regarding the Palestinians had not changed.

Palestinians still occupied a territory — they were not afforded official statehood, the spokeswoman said, The Times of Israel reported.

Further, the United States was still opposed to U.N. recognition of the Palestinian territories as a country, she said.

Israeli and Palestinian officials are supposed to meet in Washington, D.C., to discuss peace strategies on Tuesday.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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