State Dept details Tillerson’s multination African tour
The State Department announced on Monday the details of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s first official trip to Africa.
Tillerson, who leaves for the tour on Tuesday, will visit Chad, Djbouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria, as well as meet with the African Union Commission.
“In particular, he [Tillerson] plans to discuss ways we can work with our partners to counter terrorism, advance peace and security, promote good governance, and spur mutually beneficial trade and investment,” the State Department said in a statement.
President Trump sparked controversy earlier this year when he referred to African nations as “shithole countries” during an Oval Office meeting on immigration with a bipartisan group of senators.
The president said the U.S. should work to attract immigrants from countries such as Norway rather than from African nations.
The African Union demanded an apology from Trump after the remarks surfaced.
The group, which represents the 55 countries on the continent, said that the president’s comments “dishonor the celebrated American creed and respect for diversity and human dignity,” and that the administration has a “huge misunderstanding” of the continent.
A group of African ambassadors to the United Nations also condemned the comments, calling them “outrageous, racist and xenophobic.”
Tillerson addressed the outcry against Trump’s comments in January, saying nothing had changed between the U.S. and its African allies.
“At this stage nothing has changed with respect to our relationship with African nations, and we continue to see them wanting to strengthen our relationship in that regard as well,” the secretary said.
“We have a very positive relationship with African nations, we share a number of security issues, we share a number of economic development issues, and I think those leaders know that the United States wants that relationship to continue to be strong.”
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