Red-faced Belgian PM blames heat for Twitter gaffe

1st July 2010, Comments 0 comments

Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme blamed the sweltering heat of Africa after posting a cryptic message on his Twitter account during a trip, sparking a frenzy of media speculation.

On Wednesday, during an official visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo for its 50th year of independence from Belgium, Leterme wrote in awkward English on the website: "Not at all. Want to learn to know you. You to?"

The message was quickly deleted from the micro-blogging website, but not before it was caught by Belgian media.

Leterme replaced the mysterious message with a new post explaining that it had been a "misunderstanding" and was originally intended for a "correspondent" he had run into at a reception, according to Belgian media.

The prime minister concluded, with a happy face to punctuate his sentence: "It must be the heat. :-)"

The "tweet" left Belgian media scratching their heads.

The daily newspaper La Capital wondered: "New gaffe by Leterme: Is he flirting on Twitter?"

The news website said: "Yves Leterme makes acquaintance in Congo ... and on Twitter."

Cornered by Belgian journalists pressing him about his "tweet" in Kinshasa, Leterme, who is married with three children, said the "message was not addressed to a woman but to a man," according to Le Soir newspaper's website.

Leterme was invited by DR Congo authorities for the celebrations of the June 30 independence day along with Belgian King Albert II and Queen Paola.

© 2010 AFP

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