US President Donald Trump appears to have taken back the disparaging remarks he made in reference to African countries recently.
In a letter dated January 25, Trump paid glowing tribute to the African Union as it gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for the Peace and Security Council meeting at the 30th AU Summit.
“The United States profoundly respects the partnerships and values we share with the African Union, member states and citizens across the continent. I want to underscore that the United Sates deeply respects the people of Africa, and my commitment to strong and respectful relationships with African states as sovereign nations is firm,” he said.
The compliment comes barely two weeks after he referred to African countries as ‘shithole’ during an Oval Office meeting on immigration with senators.
The remarks sparked uproar with some terming them as racist, prompting Trump to deny that he meant to offend anyone.
“The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used,” Trump said in a tweet.
In the letter to the AU, Trump goes personal and even compliments individual AU leaders for their good leadership.
“I salute the leadership of Chairperson Moussa Faki in working to transform the Union into increasingly effective institution to advance economic prosperity, strengthen peace and security,” he said.
“I congratulate his Excellency Paul Kagame on his accession as Chairman of the Assembly and thank His Excellency Alpha Conde for his service,” Trump added.
The UA Summit is being attended by Heads of States and government of all the 54 member countries.
Discussions at the meeting include advancing trade and development, resolving armed conflicts and combating corruption.
“You can rely upon America’s partnership and support for the African Union’s leadership on these issues,” Trump said.
He said the US supports AU’s fight against terrorism, something he said will collectively improve air transport security, foster better trade between the US and the African continent and safeguard legal immigration.
“In the coming year, I look forward to building on relationships established during the African Leaders’ Lunch during the United Nations General Assembly, the Africa Ministerial in Washington.
“Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will travel to Africa for an extended visit in March, and I look forward to welcoming many of you to the White House,” Trump said.