S.Africa, Nigeria summon US diplomats on Trump comments

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By Hassan Isilow and Rafiu Ajakaye,

Johannesburg: South Africa and Nigeria on Monday summoned the local top U.S. diplomats to explain President Donald Trump’s recent denigrating comments about Africa and Haiti.

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A South African diplomatic source told Anadolu Agency a closed-door meeting between the U.S. ambassador in Pretoria and South African officials will be held at 6 p.m. local time (04:00GMT).

The Foreign Ministry said in an earlier statement that it would provide the U.S. diplomat the opportunity to explain Trump’s reported remarks that African countries constitute “s***holes” whose emigres are undesirable.

Tope Elias-Fatile, spokesman for Nigeria’s Foreign Ministry, told reporters the U.S. ambassador to Abuja was also due to meet with Foreign Minister Onyeama Ugochukwu to explain the remarks, which have sparked global outrage.

Last Thursday, during an Oval Office meeting on immigration, Trump referred to African nations as “s***hole countries”, asking why instead the U.S. couldn’t get more immigrants from places like Norway, according to people at the meeting.

Trump later denied the remarks, but they fit into a larger pattern of him disparaging immigrants who are either non-white or non-Christian or both.

“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 a South African Foreign Ministry statement Monday.

Several African countries — including Botswana and Namibia as well as the African Union — have issued strongly worded statements condemning Trump’s remarks.

—AA

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