Published On: Sat, Jan 13th, 2018

Trump’s ‘s**thole’ remark draws outrage in Africa

Addis Ababa: Vulgar comments attributed to US President Donald Trump have caused outrage across Africa. Trump reportedly used the word “s**thole” to describe Haiti and El Salvador, as also African countries, while discussing immigration issues with US lawmakers on Thursday.

The African Union condemns the comments in the strongest terms

Speaking to Xinhua, Abebe Ayente, senior researcher at Ethiopian Foreign Relations Strategic Studies (EFRSS), a local think tank, said the comments will further reduce the influence of US on the global stage.

Trump issued a statement on Friday denying the vulgar words attributed to him, though he admitted to having used strong language in the Thursday discussion.

Trump’s alleged remarks have caused outrage across the world with officials in African, European, Latin American countries and UN expressing condemnation and summoning US diplomats in protest.

Ayene said the undiplomatic word used by the US President that shocked the diplomatic community across the globe will likely have a long-lasting impact.

The African Union (AU) issued a statement on Friday evening calling Trump’s reported remarks outrageous and hurtful.

“While expressing shock, dismay and outrage, the African Union strongly believes there’s a huge misunderstanding of the African continent and its people by the current administration. There is a serious need for dialogue between the US administration and the African countries,” said the AU statement.

It further called for the US President to issue an apology for the hurtful remarks not only to Africans but people of African descent across the globe.

“The African Union condemns the comments in the strongest terms and demands a retraction of the comment as well as an apology to not only Africans but to all people of African descent around the globe,” it said.

Nevertheless, aware the US is still a powerful military and economic power, the AU statement called for continued strategic partnership with the US. But it emphasised that such a partnership should be based on mutual respect and accepted international principles of respect of basic human dignity.

AU Spokeswoman Ebba Kalondo pointed out the US role in the Atlantic slave trade as an example of how African countries, Trump described in contemptuous terms, were exploited in a shameful manner.

She added the purported statement was particularly unfortunate coming from a leader of country that describes itself as a global example of a successful migrant nation.

Botswana’s government on Friday condemned Trump’s reported disparaging remarks about developing countries, calling on the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union and all other progressive nations across the world to strongly condemn the remarks.

In South Africa, a senior official of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) said Trump was “extremely offensive” when he used the term “s**thole countries” to describe developing countries.

Developing countries do have difficulties, but they are not “s**thole countries”, said ANC Deputy General Secretary Jessie Duarte, calling Trump’s remarks “unfortunate”.

“Ours is not a s**thole country, neither is Haiti or any other country in distress,” said Duarte.

The US itself has its own problems such as unemployment among millions of people, inequality and non-access to healthcare for many poor people, Duarte said.

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