Albertina Nakale Windhoek-The United States of America’s new ambassador to Namibia, Lisa Johnson, has assured that President Donald Trump’s alleged derogatory remarks recently that African nations are ‘shitholes’ would not affect relations between the two countries. Last month, the US president criticised immigration to his country from El Salvador, Haiti and the African continent, by calling the group “shithole countries”, according to the US media. Trump denied making the remarks. Johnson pledged continued excellent relations between Namibia and the US when she presented her letter of credentials to President Hage Geingob at State House this week. She said Namibia is a great partner for the United States. Johnson maintained that the US engagement in Africa and their relationships are much more than one comment. “We are even increasing our commitment here in Namibia,” she said. “We are not walking away from Africa at all. We really respect our Namibian colleagues we work with at the embassy and the people we go and meet every day. It’s a very rich relationship between the United States and the African people.” “I just came from the Bahamas, and the Afro-Caribbean people are also originally from Africa. So, it’s a much broader relationship than a single comment and our engagements are very positive,” Johnson remarked. She said there is even more funding this year under the current administration to combat HIV/AIDS in Namibia - without revealing any figure. In November last year, the United States government represented by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Namibian government, represented by the National Planning Commission and the Ministry of Health and Social Services, signed an amendment to their 2007 bilateral grant agreement to add US$31 million (approximately N$435 million) of funding under the US government’s President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). These resources will fund activities under the 2017 PEPFAR Country Operational Plan (COP17). With the addition of US$31 million, USAID’s contribution to the agreement totals US$293 million (N$4.1 billion) since its inception in 2007. She added that the Namibian and US people are increasing their ties through exchanges and education every day. Johnson said she did not discuss North Korea with Geingob, despite the US’s recent accusations that Namibia was still doing business with the Asian country despite UN sanctions. “We did not discuss that [North Korean issue]. We discussed areas of successful collaboration on health, HIV/AIDS, education, trade and wildlife conservation.” “One of the things you will see me work on here is the area of trade. We already have a ready-made partnership with the government of Namibia. I am looking forward to discussing [matters] with everyone in depth in the coming days. So, I am really happy to be here,” she said. Other diplomats who presented their letters of credentials to Geingob included Turkey Ambassador Berin Makbule Tulun, Britain High Commissioner Kate Airey Obe and South Africa High Commissioner, William Max Philemon. Guyana High Commissioner Dr Cyril Kenrick Hunte and Belarus Ambassador Alexander Sidoruk are both non-resident designates.
2018-02-23 09:03:51 7 months ago