London, November 7 : Gaffe-prone Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has given rise to a fresh controversy by praising U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's suntan.
The entrepreneur, while on a Moscow visit, said last night that Obama was "young, handsome and tanned".
His comment drew a lot of criticism.
"What's the problem? It was a compliment. If these people don't have a sense of humour why don't they just..." British tabloid The Sun quoted him as responding to his criticisms.
MP Dario Franceschini said: "He must apologise. The best theory is he can no longer control himself. His words damage our country's image across the world."
Newspaper La Repubblica said: "Right on cue comes the first almighty gaffe."
This is not the first time that Berlusconi has caused widespread offence, for he had called a German MEP a "war camp guard" on one occasion, and proclaimed the West "superior" to Islam on the other.
He was once even slammed for making a gunshot gesture to a journalist after a difficult question.