Romania recalls Kenyan ambassador for racial slur

Dragos Tigau

Diplomats say they are shocked by Dragos Tigau’s racist remark

Romania recalled its ambassador to Kenya and apologized after comparing Africans to monkeys.

Dragos Tigau made the comments during a meeting at a UN building in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, on April 26.

According to the AFP news agency, Mr Tigau said “the African group joined us” when he saw a monkey outside a window.

Mr Tigau’s behavior was first made public on Thursday by Kenya’s foreign affairs official, Kamau Macharia.

On Twitter Mr. Macharia said he was “appalled and disgusted” by the incidentand claimed that attempts had been made to cover up Mr. Tigau’s behavior.

African diplomats on Friday demanded a public apology, according to the Kenyan newspaper Standard, insisting that a private apology was not enough.

On Saturday, Romania announced that it had only been informed of the incident this week and that it had now started “a procedure for recalling its ambassador”.

“We deeply regret this situation and apologize to all those who have been affected,” read the statement from the Romanian Foreign Ministry.

“Any racist behavior or comments are totally unacceptable,” he added, saying he hoped it would not affect his relations with African countries.

Romania primarily engages with African countries through its European Union membership, but it has bilateral trade agreements with Egypt, among others.

The Kenyan government has not commented on the decision to recall Mr. Tigau.

Romanian media have criticized his behavior and say this is not the first time the country has been embarrassed by insults uttered by diplomats.

In 2014, Romania’s ambassador to Armenia was recalled after making anti-Semitic jokes about Jewish bosses and questioning the morality of same-sex relationships.

The following year, Bucharest apologized after invitations to a reception at its embassy in Paris accidentally included unflattering descriptions of some guests – calling them “appalling” and “undesirable” among other things.

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