Chile President Pinera apologizes for Nazi gaffe

SANTIAGO Tue Oct 26, 2010 3:28am IST

Chile's President Sebastian Pinera addresses a news conference after bilateral talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the chancellery in Berlin, October 22, 2010.    REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

Chile's President Sebastian Pinera addresses a news conference after bilateral talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the chancellery in Berlin, October 22, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch

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SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chilean President Sebastian Pinera apologized on Monday for writing a message associated with Nazism in a German visitors log during his tour of Europe this month.

Pinera explained that he jotted "Deutschland uber alles" (Germany above all) on Saturday without realizing that it was part of a German national anthem discontinued after World War Two because of its associations with the Third Reich.

"I had no idea that the phrase could be linked to the country's dark past, and so I regret and apologize for the situation," said Pinera.

The president said he had intended to thank Germany for its support after a devastating February earthquake and during the challenging rescue of 33 miners trapped for more than two months below the northern Atacama desert.

(Reporting by Bianca Frigiani; writing by Brad Haynes; editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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