South Africa will issue a diplomatic protest to the United States Monday over US President Donald Trump’s “shithole countries” comments, according to its foreign ministry.
During an Oval Office meeting on immigration last week, Trump expressed frustration with people coming to the United States from countries in Africa and elsewhere, according to a Sen. Dick Durbin, the only Democratic Senator who attended the White House meeting.
Although Trump denied describing certain nations in such vulgar terms, tweeting: “The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used.” He also defended himself Sunday night, telling reporters he is “not a racist,” the senator insisted he made the remarks.
Last week, the African Union demanded that Trump apologizes for those comments.
Now, South Africa’s government said it will formally protest to the US Embassy in Pretoria on Monday, the Department of International Relations announced in a statement released to media on Sunday.
“The Department will provide an opportunity to the Charges de Affaires to explain the statement that African countries, alongside Haiti and El Salvador, constitute ‘shitholes’ from where migrants into the United States are undesirable,” it said.
The statement goes on to say that the government noted President Trump’s denial that this exact language was used but said it “has noted further that President Trump’s denial was not categorical, referring only to Haiti and not addressing the entirety of the statement attributed to him.”
“South Africa aligns itself with the statements issued by the African Union and the Africa group of Ambassadors to the United Nations in New York. Africa is united in its affirmation of the dignity of the people of Africa and the African diaspora.
“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,” the statement concluded.
‘Infuriation, disappointment and outrage’
The African Union, a group representing the continent’s countries, and African ambassadors to the United Nations, Friday sharply denounced Trump’s reference to African nations as “shitholes” and called on him to retract his statement and apologize.
“The African Union Mission wishes to express its infuriation, disappointment and outrage over the unfortunate comment made by Mr. Donald Trump, President of the United States of America, which remarks dishonor the celebrated American creed and respect for diversity and human dignity,” the African Union mission to the United States said in a blistering statement.