Representative Image (Picture Credits: US in Zambia/Twitter)
Representative Image (Picture Credits: US in Zambia/Twitter)

US recalls ambassador to Zambia amid gay rights row

ANI | Updated: Dec 24, 2019 10:41 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Dec 24 (ANI): The United States has withdrawn its ambassador to Zambia after the African country's government became enraged over the diplomat's criticism of its highest court for jailing two men over homosexual relations.
Media reports stated on Monday that Daniel Foote, who is currently serving as the US ambassador to Zambia, had been recalled after President Edgar Lungu in a letter, dated December 15, had written to the White House expressing his anger over the ambassador's remarks on the matter, The Hill reported.
A State Department spokesperson said that the ambassador's job in Zambia is "no longer tenable" because President Lungu said he no longer wants to work with Foote.
"Despite this action, the United States remains committed to our partnership with the Zambian people," the spokesperson said, adding that the U.S. "firmly opposes abuses against LGBTI persons. Governments have an obligation to ensure that all people can freely enjoy the universal human rights and fundamental freedoms to which they are entitled."
Ambassador Foote said last month that he was horrified by the 15-year prison sentence a Zambian court handed out to two men for having sex in what the court said was "against the order of nature."
When Zambian officials criticised Foote's reaction, he said all they want are diplomats "with open pocketbooks and closed mouths."
The country gets hundreds of millions of dollars in US aid every year.
Zambia is yet to confirm the dismal of the ambassador.
Gay rights are heavily restricted in many African countries, a source of tension for many of the Western-based rights groups and relief organisations working on the continent. (ANI)