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Monday, June 23 1997

Kohl snubs Clinton over cowboy boots


DENVER, June 22:German Chancellor Helmut Kohl reacted with horror when US president Bill Clinton asked him and other leaders to wear cowboy boots to an evening gala on Saturday.

"We had a long discussion about boots and Kohl said that he would never wear them, absolutely never," Italian prime minister Romano Prodi told a news conference during a summit of the Group of Seven big industrial nations.

Prodi said leaders were told at an afternoon meeting that they would be given boots and cowboy hats in time to put them on for an evening event dubbed `Saturday night at the summit'.

True to the best traditions of G7 summitry, where officials spend hours debating the exact wording of a communique, a face-saving compromise was eventually hammered out. "There was no diplomatic incident because a compromise was found," Prodi said.

"Clinton and Canadian prime minister Jean Chretien agreed to wear the boots on behalf of everyone," Prodi said. The italian leader, a keen cyclist, was almost as relieved as Kohl at not having to don boots. ``The idea of being confronted by a pair of boots terrorised me," he said.

REUTER

Copyright © 1997 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

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