Statesmen Write to Trump About 'Enduring Bonds' Between Africa and the US

Remigio Civitarese
Gennaio 20, 2018

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley has reportedly told African envoys that she "regrets" the controversy caused by President Donald Trump's alleged made vulgar comments referring to African nations and Haiti as "shithole countries".

Equatorial Guinea's United Nations ambassador, Anatolio Ndong Mba, told two reporters after the closed meeting requested by Haley that "we do hope that that (apology) will come", perhaps from Trump to African leaders at their summit in Ethiopia on January 28-29.

The letter lauded entrepreneurs, artists, activists, conservationists, and educators from the continent, while also stressing the importance of maintaining good relations between the United States and 54 African nations. Other diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly, said it was to have Trump send a message to leaders at the summit.

According to some in the room during a White House meeting last week on immigration, Trump asked why the letting in immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and Africa and said he wanted more from countries such as Norway.

Trump has denied using such derogatory language.

"I would like to say on behalf of our embassy, my government, the American people, we have tremendous respect for Zimbabwe, for the African continent, its people, its culture, its traditions", he said, addressing Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa and attendees of a ceremony honoring a health grant in Harare.

The African Group issued a statement last Friday condemning Trump's "outrageous, racist and xenophobic remarks" and demanding a retraction and apology. "She said she regretted that a lot".

Despite not receiving an apology during the meeting with Haley, Ndong Mba said the discussion was "very friendly" and "very frank".

"We appreciate the fact that she came, and she talked about all the cooperation between the United States and Africa, and that Africa is very important for the United States", Ndong Mba said.

The U.S. mission to the United Nations declined to comment on the U.N. meeting beyond a tweet it posted, which read: "Thank you to the Africa Group for meeting today". "We discussed our long relationship and history of combatting HIV, fighting terrorism, and committing to peace throughout the region".

Concern about the Trump administration was growing across Africa, the world's second most populous continent, even before the president's comment, over proposed deep cuts to USA foreign aid and a shift in focus in Africa toward countering extremism.

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