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Belarusian leader scorns German FM for being gay

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Belarusian leader scorns German FM for being gay
Photo: DPA
10:08 CET+01:00
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said that it was “better to be a dictator than gay,” in reference to German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, after his human rights record was questioned.

The 57-year-old had already come under fire last year when stated that he, “did not like gays.”

Lukashenko was being interviewed at a ski event when the conversation turned to the foreign ministers of Poland and Germany, who had spearheaded a recent diplomatic offensive against his government. He called them “outsiders who deserved public scorn.”

"One lives in Warsaw and the other in Berlin," Lukashenko said in apparent reference to Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.

"As for the second one who was screaming about a dictatorship... Having heard that, I thought to myself: better to be a dictator than gay," the Belarusian president said.

Lukashenko last year said he had once told Westerwelle, who is openly gay, during a meeting that "he must lead a normal life."

The farm boss - often described as Europe's last dictator - has left his ex-Soviet nation in growing diplomatic isolation over his nearly 18-year rule.

EU states withdrew their ambassadors from Minsk last month, after Belarus recalled its own representatives from Brussels and Warsaw in protest over a new raft of travel and financial restrictions imposed on senior officials.

Lukashenko has faced waves of Western sanctions in the past but is now also in growing danger of seeing the 2014 World Ice Hockey Championship pulled from Minsk - a blow for the sport-mad president.

AFP/jcw

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