Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko apologized today for a homophobic remark he made to gay German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle, news agency RIA Novosti reports.
Lukashenko said he had upset Westerwelle by telling him "honestly, eye-to-eye, that he had to lead a normal life."
"My words offended him," Lukashenko told journalists today in Minsk, his nation's capital. "I am still repenting my words. I wonder what made me speak up." He did not saying exactly when he made the statement to Westerwelle, but the German official had visited Belarus last November. Lukashenko still "condemns homosexual relations," according to RIA Novosti.
Some news sources had reported several months ago that Lukashenko, during a meeting in Minsk with Westerwelle and the Polish foreign minister, said he did not understand how two men could live together, a remark apparently meant for Westerwelle, who has a partner. Lukashenko reportedly added that he had nothing against lesbians but would send gay men to collective farms with "great pleasure." No word on whether Lukashenko expressed regret about these statements or even admitted making them.