African ambassadors at the United Nations met with the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. on Thursday, to discuss the reported remarks U.S. President Donald Trump made referring to African nations as “shithole countries.”
During the meeting, US Ambassador Nikki Haley told African envoys that “Africa is very important for the United States”, but she didn’t apologise for President Donald Trump’s vulgar comment about the continent as they had demanded.
Equatorial Guinea’s UN ambassador, Anatolio Ndong Mba, informed that 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.
Ndong Mba said the 54-nation African Group at the United Nations gave Haley a “specific recommendation” but he refused to disclose it. Other diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorised to speak publicly, said it was to have Trump send a message to leaders at the summit.
Trump referred to African nations as “shithole countries” last week in dismissing a bipartisan immigration proposal, several participants at the meeting said. The president denied using that language and said he will begin recording such meetings, so misunderstandings such as these do not come up again in the future.
The African Group issued a statement last Friday condemning Trump’s “outrageous, racist and xenophobic remarks” and demanding a retraction and apology.
Ndong Mba said Haley told the ambassadors she wasn’t at the meeting and wasn’t sure what Trump said, but noted that “the president always has been talking very high of Africa”.
“But she regretted all this situation that has been created,” Ndong Mba said.
Haley didn’t mention anything about Trump’s reported remarks in a tweet about her visit.
“Thank you to the Africa Group for meeting today,” she said. “We discussed our long relationship and history of combatting HIV, fighting terrorism, and committing to peace throughout the region.”
The African Union will be meeting for its 30th Summit, scheduled to take place from the 22nd to 29th January 2018, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The 55-member continental body, and a number of African nations have expressed shock and condemnation over Trump’s remark.