By Paul Stevens | Globe Afrique Media |
NEW YORK––US president Donald Trump says he “deeply respects” the people of Africa and that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will make an “extended visit” to the continent in March this year, his first trip in his role as US secretary of state.
President Trump made the remarks in a new letter to African leaders over the weekend in Addis Ababa. African leaders gathered for the African Union summit in Ethiopia’s capital.
In the letter dated last Thursday to calm a storm of displeasure from across the African continent regarding his alleged statement about Africans and Africa, President Trump sounded conciliatory in a continent that is pivoting more toward China.
According to sources several U.S. diplomats have been scrambling for days to address apparent shock and condemnation after President Trump’s reported comparison of African countries to sinkholes although the U.S. president has said he didn’t use such language, while others, including Senators Dick Durbin and Lindsay Graham, present say he did.
President Trump, last Friday, met with Rwanda’s president and the new African Union chair Paul Kagame at the World Economic Forum, calling Kagame a “friend.”
Despite that meeting, most people in Africa were and continued to be taking aback by the comments of the US leader whose administration they say has paid little attention to Africa, especially in the wake of widespread concerns over proposed deep cuts to U.S. foreign aid and a shift from humanitarian assistance to counterterrorism in some troubled African regions.
Below is President Trump’s Letter.