Dragos Viorel Tigau allegedly compared a monkey with Africans while attending a meeting in Nairobi.
Romania’s ambassador to Kenya who allegedly compared a monkey with Africans during a meeting in the capital has been recalled, according to the Romanian foreign ministry.
Dragos Viorel Tigau was at a United Nations building in Nairobi on April 26 when a monkey appeared at the window of the conference room.
“The African Group has joined us,” Tigau said, according to a note from the South Sudanese embassy in Kenya seen by the AFP news agency.
“The African Group would like to condemn in strongest terms possible the insulting, racist and degrading utterances,” wrote Chol Ajong’o, South Sudan’s ambassador to Kenya who leads African diplomats in Nairobi.
The Romanian foreign ministry said on Saturday it had only been informed of the incident this week, after which it “began a procedure to recall its ambassador”.
“We deeply regret this situation and offer our apologies to all those who have been affected,” it added, saying racist behaviour or comments were “absolutely unacceptable”.
Tigau “presented his apology, including in writing”, the ministry said, adding that its statement was communicated to African ambassadors in Bucharest on June 9.
The Romanian foreign ministry “hopes that the incident will not affect the relationship with the countries of the African continent”, the statement added.
The meeting was attended by 21 delegations – eight in person and 13 online, according to Kenyan newspaper The Daily Nation.
Kenyan diplomat Macharia Kamau said the episode “appalled and disgusted” him.
“Utter shame attempts to cover up this disgrace. This [is] intolerable and unacceptable in any age, let alone (the) 21st century,” he wrote on Twitter.
Appalled &disgusted at learning of remarks by Romanian Amb in Nairobi in reference African Group members as monkeys during Eastern European group meeting. Utter shame attempts to cover up this disgrace. This intolerable &unacceptable in any Age let alone 21 Century in Nairobi!
— Amb. Macharia Kamau (@AmbMKamau) June 8, 2023
Some African diplomats have called for a public apology for the slur, according to The Standard newspaper.