Zambia softens stance with US over gay case disputes

Lusaka, Dec 3 (IANS) The Zambian government has taken a soft stance on its diplomatic rift with the United States and called for continued cooperation, after a US envoy condemned the African country’s legal verdict and threatened to cut aid.

Dora Siliya, chief government spokesperson on Monday said her government hoped that the Unites States would continue to support Zambia as they have always done., Xinhua news agency reported.

Zambia has enjoyed longstanding cordial relations with the United States and the partnership in many sectors of the economy has been considered as a “partnership between friends,” she said.

Siliya also urged diplomats to use established channels whenever they have issues to raise.

On Friday, US Ambassador to Zambia Daniel Foote condemned a Zambian court which sentenced two gay men to 15 years in jail, warning of a strained relationship with Zambia and saying his government may reconsider its aid to the southern African nation.

Some Zambian officials voiced their opposition, saying Zambia was gravely concerned about the US envoy’s remarks as his comment on the case was “a matter of sovereignty.”

Zambian President Edgar Lungu also said on Sunday that his country will not be forced to legalize homosexuality for fear of losing aid.



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