By Tamba Francois Koundouno
Rabat – In an attempt to soothe the outcry generated by his “shithole” statement, Trump addressed a letter last Thursday to African leaders, who were meeting in Addis Ababa to discuss the continent’s priorities for 2018.
According to the Associated Press, Trump stated that he “profoundly respects the people of Africa.”
Trump’s “shithole” comments, made during a policy meeting on immigration earlier this month, shocked and dismayed many people in Africa, especially African leaders. The AU Commission president commented at the AU Summit last week that the continent was “frankly alarmed” by Trump’s comments.
At a World Economic Forum last Friday in Davos, Trump met with Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, who recently replaced Guinea’s Alpha Condé as the acting chairperson of the African Union. Kagame said that they had “good discussions” on economy and trade-related issues, further commenting that “AU is looking forward to working with the United States.”
Trump, for his part, called the meeting “an honor” and Kagame “a friend.” Trump stressed a partnership that “safeguards legal immigration,” adding that the U.S. wants to work with Africa towards “free, fair, and reciprocal trade.”
It is reported that Trump’s letter extended his “deepest compliments” to African counterparts, adding that he respects their mutual friendship and shared values with Africa and its people.
The letter also mentioned that “US troops are fighting side by side” with African soldiers against terrorism and extremism in the continent, adding that his commitment to the partnership with Africa is “firm.” Trump’s letter concluded that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will make “an extended visit” to Africa in March 2018.
However, the letter did not reveal details about Tillerson’s predicted visit.