African lead­ers very an­gry with American pres­i­dent

The Gulf Today - - FRONT PAGE -

AC­CRA: Ghana’s Pres­i­dent Nana Akufo-addo on Satur­day said Don­ald Trump’s re­ported de­scrip­tion of African na­tions as “shit­hole coun­tries” was un­ac­cept­able, while his pre­de­ces­sor branded the US head of state a racist.

Pres­i­dent Akufo-addo tweeted that Trump’s re­ported lan­guage was “ex­tremely un­for­tu­nate”, adding: “We are cer­tainly not ‘a shit­hole coun­try’.” “We will not ac­cept such in­sults, even from a leader of a friendly coun­try, no mat­ter how pow­er­ful.” Ghana is widely seen as a sta­ble, peace­ful coun­try in an of­ten tur­bu­lent re­gion, and has close ties to the United States.

In 2009 Trump’s pre­de­ces­sor, Barack Obama, chose Ghana’s cap­i­tal Ac­cra to set out his for­eign pol­icy goals for Africa in a speech in which he said he saw Africa “as a fun­da­men­tal part of our in­ter­con­nected world”.

Africans were “part­ners with Amer­ica on be­half of the fu­ture we want for all of our chil­dren. That part­ner­ship must be grounded in mu­tual re­spon­si­bil­ity and mu­tual re­spect”, he said.

Akufo-addo’s com­ments fol­low a strongly worded African Union state­ment on Fri­day and a de­mand from African am­bas­sadors at the United Na­tions for a re­trac­tion and an apol­ogy.

The group of UN diplo­mats said it was “ex­tremely ap­palled at, and strongly con­demns the out­ra­geous, racist and xeno­pho­bic re­marks.”

Ghana’s former pres­i­dent John Dra­mani Ma­hama, whom Akufo-addo de­feated in elec­tions just a month af­ter Trump’s own win at the polls, on Twit­ter asked: “Isn’t Trump demon­strat­ing that he’s noth­ing but a racist and pur­su­ing a pol­icy of ‘Make Amer­ica White Again’?”

He also high­lighted the con­trast be­tween Trump’s praise for Africa last year when he met lead­ers from the con­ti­nent on the side­lines of the UN Gen­eral As­sem­bly.

“Shit­hole? Thought they said he was so im­pressed with us just last Septem­ber?” Ma­hama tweeted un­der a mocked-up pho­to­graph of Trump be­ing shown a map of Africa in which all the coun­tries were la­belled “Nam­bia.”

Trump was widely de­rided last year af­ter twice re­fer­ring to Namibia as “Nam­bia” at the Septem­ber meet­ing.

Namibia on Satur­day added its voice to the cho­rus of com­plaints, say­ing the pres­i­dent’s lan­guage had “no place in diplo­matic dis­course” and was “con­trary to the norms of ci­vil­ity and hu­man progress.”


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