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AFRICAN LEADERS PARDON TRUMP’S OFFENSIVE REMARK.

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African leaders say they have decided to refrain from issuing a resolution to criticise Donald Trump’s alleged reference to their nations as “shithole countries” because the U.S. president sent them a letter expressing respect for the continent.

The leaders who met at an African Union summit in the Ethiopian capital were initially set to demand an apology from Trump over the remark reported by sources at a meeting on immigration with him this month. Trump denies making the comment.

Reports of the comment touched a nerve because they come on top of decisions by the Trump administration, particularly on visa restrictions, that many Africans say unfairly penalize the continent.

As the summit was being held at ministerial level, the gathering drafted a resolution calling on Trump to “publicly apologise to all Africans”.

Anything short of that would force them to suspend a cooperation deal signed between Washington and the bloc, said the draft seen by Reuters.

African leaders are “dismayed and shocked by the increasingly consistent trend by the Trump Administration to denigrate of African descent … thereby promoting racism, xenophobia and bigotry,” it said.

But a Jan. 25 letter sent by Trump prompted a change of tack at presidential level.

One summit official said the final resolution that is yet to be released contains no reference to the issue after the leaders concluded the meeting late on Monday.

“I want to underscore that the United States deeply respects the people of Africa and my commitment to strong and respectful relationships with African states as sovereign states is firm,” Trump said.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would “travel to Africa for an extended visit,” he said.

The AU Commission had “taken due note” of the letter, which wished the summit success, Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said during the closing press conference.

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, who met Trump last week on the sidelines of the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, said Trump’s reported comment had no impact on the AU summit.

“When the United States decided to give us Trump as their president we deal with that president of the United States. It is not an issue of whether you appreciate him for this or for that, it is a job that he is doing for his country,” added Kagame, who assumed the African Union’s chairmanship this year.

He said both he and Trump had stressed the need for more cooperation.

Motherland News

PM Abiy reiterates Ethiopia’s decision over latest clampdown.

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Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has finally spoken on ongoing anti-corruption and rights abuse clampdown stating that there was not going to be any backing down let alone retreat.

A statement from the Abiy’s office issued in Amharic tasked citizens to rally behind the development as a means of ridding the country of lawlessness and criminal elements.

State-affiliated FBC reported that the statement titled, ‘Let’s Fight (the) Cancer,’ said the government was bent on bringing people behind injustices to book.



The statement said the underlying objective of recent arrests was to get rid of Ethiopia criminals. “… criminals do not care about ethnicity, country, or morality; they only care for themselves.

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“The key to justice is to create a system for innocent citizens to live in freedom and dignity while criminals are held accountable and punished in accordance with the law,” the statement read in part.

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Since early this week, authorities have announced the arrest of over sixty former military and intelligence officials arrested in connection with rights abuse in prisons and gross corruption in the military run business conglomerate, Metals and Engineering Corporation, MetEC.

A former head of MetEC, Kinfe Dagnew; and a former intelligence chiefs, Tekleberhan Woldearegay and Yared Zerihun have all been detained and put before courts in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Head of security at the state monopoly, Ethio Telecom, Gudeta Olana, has also been arrested as has head of the entity and brother of ex-MetEC boss, Essayas Dagnew.

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New Zealand denies refusing refugees with holiday visas entry.

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New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, on Friday, rejected allegations that the country’s government was blocking refugees who wished to travel into the country from Nauru on visitor visas.

Nauru’s president, Baron Waqa, also claimed in an interview with Australian media that he had also personally brokered a deal for New Zealand to accept 80 refugees currently located on the island.



“It’s incorrect to say that there is some kind of agreement for 80 specific individuals to take residence or visit,’’ Ardern told media at the East Asia Summit in Singapore.

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“The request did not ask about whether refugees could visit New Zealand on holiday visas,’’ he added.

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The country assessed all applications for visitor visas on a case-by-case basis. This applies regardless of a person’s country of origin or nationality.

The country is under pressure to transfer the remaining 30 children from the island.

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