13. January 2018

Governments protest against US-President Trump's derogatory statement

In Namibia, international relations permanent secretary Selma Ashipala-Musavyi said yesterday that Namibia did not appreciate the disparaging remarks of US president Donald Trump in which he is reported to have referred to African states as "sh*thole countries”.

Trump drew sharp international criticism, including from the United Nations, when he apparently said in a meeting with US lawmakers at the White House on Thursday that African and other countries were "sh*thole countries".

Ashipala-Musavyi told The Namibian that she has contacted the Namibian embassy in Washington to find out in what context Trump made the remarks, adding that she was still awaiting a response from them. "We do not know in what context the remarks were made, but we do not agree with them. This is not a comment we appreciate from one state to another," she said.

Ashipala-Musavyi also said in the statement that the language Trump used had no place in diplomatic discourse and was contrary to the norms of civility. "Furthermore, it does not contribute to international cooperation," she said. She commended Americans who have distanced themselves from Trump's derogatory remarks. ”The Africa we know and love is is one that is recovering economically and rising," she said.

She, however, said the US president's comments will not affect Namibia's bilateral relations with that country.

Meanwhile, the Botswana government said it has summoned the US ambassador in that country to express its displeasure over what it termed "derogatory" and "racial" remarks by the US leader. In a statement yesterday the Botswana government called Trump's comments highly irresponsible, considering that the US and Botswana enjoyed cordial and mutually beneficial relations, and called on SADC and the African Union and other nations to strongly condemn Trump's remarks. The neighbouring country also demanded that Trump clarify whether Botswana was also a "sh*thole country”.

In South Africa, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) on Sunday said it will approach the US Embassy to ask for an explanation on a recent statement by President Donald Trump in which he apparently termed African countries as being “shitholes”. “Dirco will on Monday demarche the Charges de Affaires (the second in charge) of the Embassy… following the recent disturbing comments attributed to President Donald Trump,” said spokesman Clayson Monyela in a statement.

“Relations between South Africa and the United States, and between the rest of Africa and the United States, must be based on mutual respect and understanding,” said Monyela. (various sources)

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