The US, on Tuesday insisted that it would continue to put pressure on Nigeria to change the law banning same-sex marriage and shows of public same-sex affection in the country.
The US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Ms Linda Thomas-Greenfield, made this known in online interactive session with journalists on US foreign policy in sub-Saharan Africa.
Thomas-Greenfield argued that it was a US policy to strongly support the human rights of all people and oppose any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation.
“As a policy we will continue to press the government of Nigeria and other governments and the legislature to change this laws and provide human rights to all Nigerians regardless of their sexual orientation,’’ she said.
On the fight against insurgency, Thomas-Greenfield denied suggestions that Boko Haram had become more daring since the U.S. government designated the group a foreign terrorist organisation.
She reiterated the support of the U.S. to the Federal Government’s efforts to combat violent extremism and the fight against insurgency.
“We think that to address extremism there has to be a multifaceted approach, one that brings in not only security and military elements, but also civilian elements to deal with issues of the people in the area.’’
The U.S. top envoy for Africa also confirmed that President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe had not been invited to U.S.-Africa summit scheduled for August in Washington D.C.
President Barack Obama had invited 47 African Heads of State and Governments to the summit aimed at enhancing trade and investment to the continent.
On the exclusion of Mugabe, Thomas-Greenfield said: “we invited all of the countries that were in good standing with the AU and good standing with the U.S. government.
“That’s the reason invitation went out to certain countries and did not go to other countries.’’
The U.S. diplomat, who was part of high-level delegation that attended the just ended 22nd AU summit in Addis Ababa, pledged U.S. commitment to strengthen its relationship with the continental body.
She said the U.S. would continue to cooperate with the AU, which elected President Mohammed Ould Abdelaziz of Mauritania, as its Chairman during the last summit.
“It is our hope along with the AU leadership that we can work together to build the capacity of the AU to respond to the crisis that are occurring in Africa.
“But more importantly, we want the AU to be a voice of reason on the continent as the AU looks to how Africa with its immense resources can contribute to the peace and prosperity of the people in the countries that are members of the AU,’’ she said. Punch