German vice-chancellor and foreign minister Guido Westerwelle has stated that he does not take along his partner when making diplomatic trips to countries in which homosexuality is punishable by law.

Mr Westewller, 48, was speaking to Bunte magazine last week when he pointed out that a amount of countries outlaw homosexual acts – up to 75 worldwide.

He added, “We want to promote tolerance in the world [and] I think it is important that we live by our own standards of tolerance and that we do not sometimes adopt less tolerant standards as our own”. He also added that he didn’t want to achieve the opposite of tolerance by “acting thoughtlessly”.

Mr Westerwelle, who came out at Chancellor Merkel’s 50th birthday party in 2004, has stated that he has never felt at a disadvantage diplomatically because of his sexuality.

He has visited Yemen and Saudi Arabia on affairs of state, countries in which gay and lesbian acts are capital offences, as they are in Iran, Sudan, Mauritania, Somalia and Nigeria.