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Zambian leader seeks US envoy's recall for denouncing gay sex sentence

Daniel Foote came under fire in Zambia after he expressed horror over the high court ruling late last month and urged Lusaka to review laws that discriminate against minority groups.

Zambian President Edgar Lungu. Picture: United Nations Photo.

LUSAKA - Zambian President Edgar Lungu wants the US to recall its ambassador to Lusaka for criticising the southern African nation over a 15-year jail term slapped on two gay men for consensual sex.

Daniel Foote came under fire in Zambia after he expressed horror over the high court ruling late last month and urged Lusaka to review laws that discriminate against minority groups.

"You need to know that we have complained officially to the American government and we are waiting for their response because we don’t want such people in our midst," Lungu said in comments on state-owned radio.

His press aide Isaac Chipampe late on Sunday said the protest letter Lungu was referring to was the same one issued by Foreign Minister Joseph Malanji.

"The government is still waiting for a response from the United States government concerning the complaint," said Chipampe.

Foote had told a news conference that Zambia, which relies on overseas aid, wanted diplomats "with open pocketbooks and closed mouths."

Homosexuality is outlawed in the southern African country which also faces a high HIV burden.

Over the last 15 years, the US has provided more than $4 billion (3.6 billion euros) to fight HIV/Aids in Zambia.

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