Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said “nothing has changed” between the US and 54 African nations despite President Donald Trump’s alleged comment calling them and others “s***hole countries” last week.
"At this stage, nothing has changed with respect to our relationship with African nations and we continue to see them wanting to strengthen our relationship," Mr Tillerson told Buzzfeed News.
The President reportedly said that immigrants from Africa and Haiti come from “s***hole countries” and wondered why the US does not have more immigrants from places like Norway, the prime minister of which he had just hosted at the White House.
Mr Trump has denied making the remarks, which attributed to the President by Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, during a meeting with Congressional leaders from both parties to discuss immigration policy.
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in response that “the President hasn't said he didn't use strong language, and this is an important issue, he's passionate about it, he's not going to apologise for trying to fix our immigration system."
Mr Tillerson said that the US hosted a “very successful” conference of African nations and the African Union and the parties “explored both economic issues but explored shared security issues.”
"As you know, African nations, one of their greatest concerns is counterterrorism," Mr Tillerson added.
However, the Trump administration slighted one of its most robust African counter-terrorism partnerships by placing a travel ban on people from Chad.
The administration left experts baffled when it said the reason for the Sahel region country’s inclusion was because Chad failed to “adequately share public-safety and terrorism-related information.”
Chad assists in the fight against Isis-West Africa, al-Qaeda, and Boko Haram.
Since Mr Trump’s alleged “s***hole countries” comment Nigeria, Botswana, Senegal, South Africa, Haiti, and Ghana have all called in American diplomats to explain what Mr Trump meant by his supposed comment.
Botswana issued a statement calling the President’s alleged comments “"irresponsible, reprehensible, and racist” and asking the US to “clarify” what he meant by it.
The State Department has said it expects more US diplomats to be summoned by host nations over it as well.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies