President Donald Trump. Picture: REUTERS
President Donald Trump. Picture: REUTERS

The US has stressed that it "deeply respects" SA and the rest of the continent‚ despite controversial comments attributed to President Donald Trump about African countries‚ officials said.

The Department of International Relations and Co-operation (Dirco) said on Monday that it had met counterparts at the US embassy and the US charge d’affaires to "express SA’s concerns with regard to the reports about statements that were allegedly made by President Donald Trump with regard to Africa and certain other countries".

Department spokesman Clayson Monyela said in a statement that both countries noted in Monday’s meeting, which coincidentally fell on Martin Luther King Day in the US, that Africa and the African diaspora had contributed significantly to the US.

"The US embassy and the US charge d’affaires responded to the concerns of SA by stating that ‘there has been no change in the US’s dedication to our partners across the continent’ and that ‘the US deeply respects the people of Africa and the people of SA‚ and values its partnerships with them’," said Monyela.

He said US embassy officials also responded to concerns about Trump’s comments by saying: "The US deeply respects the people of Africa and the people of SA‚ and values its partnerships with them."

The statement echoes remarks made on the embassy’s Twitter account on Friday.

"The US deeply respects the people of #Africa & values partnerships w/ them. There has been no change in our dedication to partners & friends across the continent. We remain committed to working together to realise the promise of a more prosperous 21st century Africa‚" the embassy tweeted.

Trump drew widespread criticism last week after he reportedly referred to African countries as "shithole" countries.

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