A group of 54 "extremely appalled" African countries demanded Friday that US President Donald Trump retract and apologize for his reported denunciation of immigration from "shithole" nations.
After an emergency session to weigh Trump's remarks, the group of African ambassadors to the United Nations said it was "concerned at the continuing and growing trend from the US administration toward Africa and people of African descent to denigrate the continent and people of color."
The group is "extremely appalled at, and strongly condemns the outrageous, racist and xenophobic remarks by the president of the United States of America as widely reported by the media," a statement added, demanding a "retraction and an apology."
Earlier, the African Union continental body told The Associated Press it was "frankly alarmed" by Trump's comments.
"Given the historical reality of how many Africans arrived in the United States as slaves, this statement flies in the face of all accepted behavior and practice," AU spokeswoman Ebba Kalondo said. "This is particularly surprising as the United States of America remains a global example of how migration gave birth to a nation built on strong values of diversity and opportunity."
African governments quickly found themselves in an awkward position. As top recipients of US aid, some hesitated to jeopardize it by criticizing Trump, especially as his administration has sought to slash foreign assistance.
"Unless it was specifically said about South Sudan, we have nothing to say," South Sudan government spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny told The Associated Press.
But South Africa's ruling African National Congress called Trump's comments "extremely offensive." Deputy Secretary General Jesse Duarte said developing countries do have difficulties but the United States itself has millions of people out of work or without health care, and "we would not deign to make comments as derogatory."
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team