Kerry voices U.S. dismay at anti-gay law to Uganda's Museveni

WASHINGTON Fri Feb 28, 2014 4:21pm EST

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks before opening the U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Commission Plenary Session with Georgia's Prime Minister Irakly Garibashvili at the State Department in Washington February 26, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Mike Theiler

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks before opening the U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Commission Plenary Session with Georgia's Prime Minister Irakly Garibashvili at the State Department in Washington February 26, 2014 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Theiler

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Secretary of State John Kerry telephoned Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni this week to convey U.S. unhappiness at an anti-gay law in Uganda and tell him it will complicate ties between the two countries, the State Department said on Friday.

The new law strengthened existing punishments for anyone caught having gay sex, imposing jail terms of up to life for "aggravated homosexuality" - including sex with a minor or while HIV-positive. It criminalized lesbianism for the first time and made it a crime to help individuals engage in homosexual acts.

"Secretary Kerry expressed the United States' deep disappointment in the Ugandan government's decision to enact the anti-homosexuality bill," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said of the call, which took place on Thursday.

"The secretary noted that the decision complicates the U.S. relationship with Uganda," the spokeswoman added in her written statement, although she said that Kerry did not threaten any specific sanction by the United States in response.

Homosexuality is a taboo in most African nations and illegal in 37, including Uganda, where it has been a crime since British colonial rule. However, such laws are seldom enforced.

On Wednesday, Kerry described the new law as "atrocious" and Museveni's signing it as "flat-out morally wrong." He also likened it to anti-Semitic laws in Nazi Germany and racial discrimination in South Africa during the apartheid era.

The United States gave more than $485 million in aid to Uganda in the year ended on September 30. The bulk of the funding went to health programs and security, including military training.

(Reporting By Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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Comments (2)
manny2014 wrote:
Western aid is the corruption of african leaders. They are well aware that these monies never go to their intended purpose but are directly sent to banks in switzerland. They are not interested in helping Africa, but to ‘legally’ buy through corruption, our leaders. Go away with your money.
In the west, we are severely, mercilessly turned down if you try to bring in your second wife. Why, because they don`t believe in the same freedom we believe in. Keep your culture, and allow africa to take care of it`s own problems.

Feb 28, 2014 4:41pm EST  --  Report as abuse
elpea123 wrote:
I think the USA should be careful here. To the rest of the world, the USA is becoming viewed immoral. Other countries do not want what they really believe is immorality pushed down their throats. It makes sour enemies.

In Africa, the Chinese are there working deals. The Chinese pride themselves at not attaching pressures and dictates along with their deals. They just go in, write contracts where they make out like bandits, and then leave it at that. They do not…if you don’t do this, then we won’t do that. The USA does this pushing and meddling.

Here again, if this country wishes to have such as law, the rest of the world should respect that.

The USA is fooling itself to think that their social policies are all that perfect. Far from it. The fall from grace has been escalating since the Nixon years. Really got bad during the Bill Clinton years and now….omgoodness…morality is a total thing of the past here in this country. It is becoming routine and lawful to just haul off and kill tiny little babies!

We are no saints.

Mar 01, 2014 8:00am EST  --  Report as abuse
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