Trump says US ‘deeply respects’ Africa in letter to African Union

US President Donald Trump. (Fabrice Coffrini / AFP)
Updated 28 January 2018

Trump says US ‘deeply respects’ Africa in letter to African Union

ADDIS ABABA: President Donald Trump said the United States “deeply respects” Africans and will dispatch its top diplomat to the continent, in a letter to African leaders seen by AFP on Sunday.
The letter sent last week comes after Trump provoked a firestorm of indignation among African nations earlier in January when he reportedly them “s***hole countries” during a meeting with lawmakers in Washington.
While Trump has denied the remarks, they are expected to be formally condemned by the 55 member states of the African Union during their ongoing summit in the Ethiopian capital.
“I want to underscore that the United States deeply respects the people of Africa, and my commitment to strong and respectful relationships with African nations as sovereign nations is firm,” Trump wrote in the letter.
“Our soldiers are fighting side-by-side to defeat terrorists,” he said, and “we are working together to increase free, fair and reciprocal trade.”
The letter was not made public, but its existence was confirmed by Chris Meade, a diplomat with the US delegation to the AU.
Meade declined to comment on its contents, but an AU source confirmed the accuracy of the text of the letter circulating on social media.
Earlier this month media reports emerged of Trump demanding to know during a meeting on immigration reform why the United States should accept citizens from “s***hole countries,” including Haiti, El Salvador and the entire African continent.
Trump defended himself on Twitter, saying: “The language used by me... was tough, but this was not the language used.”
In the letter, Trump does not acknowledge the reported comments, but said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would make a “extended visit” in March. He told African leaders that he looks forward to “welcoming many of you to the White House.”


India celebrates Republic Day with military parade

Updated 26 January 2020

India celebrates Republic Day with military parade

  • Schoolchildren, folk dancers, and police and military battalions marched through New Delhi’s parade route

NEW DELHI: Thousands of Indians converged on a ceremonial boulevard in the capital amid tight security to celebrate the Republic Day on Sunday, which marks the 1950 anniversary of the country’s democratic constitution.
During the celebrations, schoolchildren, folk dancers, and police and military battalions marched through New Delhi’s parade route, followed by a military hardware display.
Beyond the show of military power, the parade also included ornate floats highlighting India’s cultural diversity as men, women and children in colorful dresses performed traditional dances, drawing applause from the spectators.
The 90-minute event, broadcast live, was watched by millions of Indians on their television sets across the country.
Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro was the chief guest for this year’s celebrations.
He was accorded the ceremonial Guard of Honor by President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Rashtrapati Bhawan, the sprawling presidential palace.
Bolsonaro joined the two Indian leaders as the military parade marched through a central avenue near the Presidential Palace.
At the parade, Bolsonaro watched keenly as mechanized columns of Indian tanks, rocket launchers, locally made nuclear-capable missile systems and other hardware rolled down the parade route and air force jets sped by overhead.
Apart from attending the Republic Day celebrations, Bolsonaro’s visit was also aimed at strengthening trade and investment ties across a range of fields between the two countries.
On Saturday, Modi and Bolsonaro reached an agreement to promote investment in each other’s country.
Before the parade, Modi paid homage to fallen soldiers at the newly built National War Memorial in New Delhi as the national capital was put under tight security cover.
Smaller parades were also held in the state capitals.
Police said five grenades were lobbed in the eastern Assam state by separatist militants who have routinely boycotted the Republic Day celebrations. No one was injured, police said.
Sunday’s blasts also come at a time when Assam has been witnessing continuous protests against the new citizenship law that have spread to many Indian states.
The law approved in December provides a fast-track to naturalization for persecuted religious minorities from some neighboring Islamic countries, but excludes Muslims.
Nationwide protests have brought tens of thousands of people from different faiths and backgrounds together, in part because the law is seen by critics as part of a larger threat to the secular fabric of Indian society.