French President Nicolas Sarkozy drew boos from a crowd of farmers after he mistakenly identified himself as being "in Germany" while addressing a group of farmers in a French border region, reports the BBC.
The French leader made the slip-up while visiting the disputed area of Alsace. According to the Telegraph, he told the farmers:
I can accept distortions of competition from China or India, but not from Germany. I'm not saying that simply because I'm in Germany.
He then quickly added, "I am in Alsace," but not quickly enough to stop the crowd from responding angrily.
The people of Alsace are particularly sensitive about the topic, as the area was annexed by Germany following the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. France regained the region following World War I. The area was annexed again after France was taken over by Germany during World War II.
Reports the Telegraph:
"As far as French nationalism is concerned, you can't really make a more inflammatory mistake," said French historian Jean-Luc Roche.
"As a region, Alsace sums up the hatred which existed between the two countries for years. Suggesting that Alsace remains part of Germany is a terrible thing for the President of France to do, even if he tried to laugh it off as a silly mistake."
Watch a video of the gaffe:
Nicolas Sarkozy confond Alsace et Allemagne (en Alsace)
Uploaded by guybirenbaum. - News videos from around the world.