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Krishna reads wrong speech at UNSC

External affairs minister SM Krishna was caught in a public gaffe when he inadvertently read out the speech of the Portuguese Minister at a UN Security Council meeting but rectified the error after an Indian official drew his attention.

world Updated: Feb 13, 2011 01:53 IST

External affairs minister S M Krishna inadvertently read out two paragraphs of the speech of his Portuguese counterpart Luis Amado at the United Nations Security Council last evening.

The mix-up happened when the UN staff had distributed the copies for the speeches. And it was a sit-in speech. The first paragraph of most of the speeches began with the customary thanking of the Brazilian presidency, then the general issues pertaining to the UN.

Brazil, India’s G-4 partner holds the UNSC presidency for the month of February.

As the minister veered into the third paragraph uncomfortably, looking at the officials, they noticed something was amiss. And a few lines of the speech, by then, were out of context, too.

“On a more personal note, allow me to express my profound satisfaction regarding the happy coincidence of having two members of the Portuguese Speaking Countries, Brazil and Portugal, together here today,” was one of them. Then, Hardeep Puri, India’s permanent representative to the UN, and other officials intervened. And the Portuguese minister had already spoken before Krishna.

“You can start again,” Puri told the Minister.

While the faux pas was corrected, it left some political ripples. Soon enough in New Delhi, senior Congress leader M L Fotedar demanded the resignation of Krishna.

The MEA, in a clarification, said: “The initial parts of all formal addresses contain salutation and courteous references. While addressing the UNSC, EAM used such expressions from the address of the previous speaker before moving to his prepared text... the minister went on to make a well-received statement”.