The African Union has demanded that President Donald Trump apologize after he reportedly called nations on the continent “shitholes”.
The organization’s mission in Washington DC expressed its “shock, dismay and outrage” and said the Trump administration misunderstood Africans.
President Trump made the alleged remark in a meeting on immigration on January 11.
However, the president has denied using the language reported.
President Trump has been backed by two Republicans who were at the White House meeting, but Democratic Senator Dick Durbin said Donald Trump called African countries “shitholes” several times and used “racist” language.
On January 12, President Trump tweeted that his language he used at the private meeting with lawmakers to discuss immigration legislation had been “tough”.
However, he added that the words attributed to him were “not the language used”.
The African Union said the “remarks dishonor the celebrated American creed and respect for diversity and human dignity”.
The organization representing African countries added: “While expressing our shock, dismay and outrage, the African Union strongly believes that there is a huge misunderstanding of the African continent and its people by the current Administration.
“There is a serious need for dialogue between the US Administration and the African countries.”
It represents 55 member states throughout the African continent. The group succeeded the Organization of African Unity – which originated in the decolonization struggles of the early 1960s – in 2002.
President Trump’s remarks were allegedly made when lawmakers visited him on January 11 to discuss a bipartisan proposal that would impose new restrictions on immigration but protect the so-called “Dreamers” – hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the US illegally as children – from deportation.
The president was said to have told them that instead of granting temporary residency to citizens of countries hit by natural disasters, war or epidemics, the US should instead be taking in migrants from countries like Norway.
The Washington Post quoted President Trump as saying: “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”
Senator Dick Durbin said that when President Trump was told that the largest groups of immigrants with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) were from El Salvador, Honduras and Haiti, the president responded: “Haitians? Do we need more Haitians?”
However, in another tweet on January 12, President Trump denied that he insulted Haitians.
On January 11, many media outlets reported President Trump’s comments, quoting witnesses or people briefed on the meeting. However, the White House did not deny them.
Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over war crimes charges, left Khartoum on June 13 to travel to South Africa for an African (AU) summit, state news agency SUNA said.
The ICC has called on South Africa to arrest Omar al-Bashir.
Omar al-Bashir is wanted for war crimes over the conflict in Darfur.
An ICC statement said South Africa should “spare no effort” in detaining him.
But instead he was welcomed by South African officials on his arrival in Johannesburg, SABC tweeted.
Since the Sudanese president was indicted by the ICC in 2009 over alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Darfur conflict, his overseas travel has been severely restricted.
Omar al-Bashir was accompanied by the foreign minister and other top Sudanese officials, SUNA reported.
There are tensions between the ICC and the AU, with some on the continent accusing the court of unfairly targeting Africans.
The AU has previously urged the ICC to stop proceedings against sitting leaders.
The warrants against Omar al-Bashir, who denies the allegations, have severely restricted his overseas travel.
He has, however, visited friendly states in Africa and the Middle East.
The ICC has no police force and relies on member states to carry out arrests.
As a signatory to the Rome Statute that established the ICC, South Africa is obliged to arrest Omar al-Bashir if he sets foot in the country, but correspondents say this is unlikely to happen.
The AU has previously refused to co-operate with the ICC, accusing it of bias against African leaders.
Sidiki Kaba, president of the assembly of states to the ICC, expressed “deep concern about the negative consequences for the court” if South Africa refused to comply with its obligations to carry out the arrest.
Human rights organizations and South Africa’s main opposition party have also called for Omar al-Bashir’s arrest.
Darfur has been in conflict since 2003, when rebels took up arms against the government. The UN says more than 300,000 people have died, mostly from disease.
The ICC has ended an investigation into war crimes in the region, but the warrants against Omar al-Bashir remain outstanding. The court accuses him of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.
Central Africa Republic’s interim President Michel Djotodia has resigned.
Michel Djotodia made the announcement at a regional summit in Chad aimed at ending violence that has engulfed the country.
CAR’s entire transitional assembly is attending the meeting in Chad organised by regional leaders.
Michel Djotodia, CAR’s first Muslim leader, had been resisting pressure to go.
His seizure of power last year has led to 20% of the population fleeing their homes amid fighting between Christian and Muslim militias.
The UN has warned of an impending humanitarian disaster.
Since December and the arrival of more regional peacekeepers and French troops, 1,000 people have died in sectarian clashes.
Michel Djotodia is CAR’s first Muslim leader
Many villages are deserted and in the last month the number of those who have fled their homes has doubled – including almost half of those living in the capital city, Bangui.
Michel Djotodia’s resignation was made in a statement by the 10-nation Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).
CAR PM Nicolas Tiengaye, with whom he had a fractious relationship, has also resigned, the AFP news agency reports.
Earlier ECCAS Secretary-General Ahmat Allami said members of CAR’s National Transitional Council (CNT) had been flown in at short notice to decide the leadership of their nation.
The lawmakers met regional leaders while Michel Djotodia held separate talks with allies from his former Seleka rebel alliance, AFP reported.
Under a deal brokered by regional powers last year, the CNT was charged with choosing a transitional leader to take CAR to elections due at the end of 2014. It formally elected Michel Djotodia to his position as interim president last April.
Earlier on Friday, thousands of people in Bangui took to the streets demanding the resignation of Michel Djotodia, a former Soviet-trained civil servant.
Seleka seized power last March overthrowing the then-President Francois Bozize, from CAR’s majority Christian population.
Although Michel Djotodia officially disbanded the Seleka rebels, he has proved unable to keep them in check.
Their actions have prompted Christians to form vigilante groups, sparking a deadly cycle of revenge attacks.