'Swap French for Belarus beauties', orders leader

18th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

MINSK, Nov 17 (AFP) - Alexander Lukashenko, hard line anti-western head of the former Soviet republic of Belarus, called Wednesday for French models to be banished from advertising billboards in favour of the cream of home-grown beauty.

MINSK, Nov 17 (AFP) - Alexander Lukashenko, hard line anti-western head of the former Soviet republic of Belarus, called Wednesday for French models to be banished from advertising billboards in favour of the cream of home-grown beauty.

"These Frenchwomen with their faces splashed with mud off the road must not monopolise billboards all over the place, including the presidential route to work," he complained to an opening session of parliament.

"We've got plenty of beautiful girls of our own, so let's have their pictures up instead advertising watches, even if the watches are foreign-made," the president ordained.

Lukashenko also warned he was going to check out whether officials had followed his orders to ban foreigners from adopting Belarus children.

Some 2,500 children of the poverty-stricken former constituent Soviet republic and western neighbour of Russia have been adopted by foreigners since 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed, according to Belarus authorities.

"This process must be reduced to zero," Lukashenko warned, describing the practice as "a matter of shame for our state."

"We must bring up our children ourselves," he said, inveighing against children being allowed abroad on vacation:

"You must have seen yourselves what happens to our children when they come back from abroad: we've been invaded by consumerism," the president complained: "We don't need that kind of education."

Lukashenko has come under criticism at home and abroad for his hard line regime and its civil rights record.

The European Union Parliament last month denounced his "quasi-dictatorial" regime and passed a resolution attacking the conduct of general elections and a referendum on October 17 giving Lukashenko the right to run for office for an unlimited period.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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