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Germany apologises after leopard emoji used in reference to Africa in weet


On Thursday, Ermani apologized for using the leopard emoji in a Twitter taunt of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that ended up offending some Africans.

The German foreign ministry ridiculed a senior Russian diplomat during his tour of Africa when he tweeted that he was not looking for leopards there but was using the trip to try to justify a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The tweet and the leopard emoji, which the Foreign Office used on its official account, played into Germany’s decision to send some of its advanced Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine to help its military in the fight against Russian forces.

But an African Union official was offended that, she said, the continent was portrayed solely as wild animals. Ebba Kalondo, spokesperson for African Union chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat, tweeted in response to a German government account asking if Africa, its people and its wildlife was “just a joke to you?”

“Foreign policy is no joke and should not be used to gain cheap geopolitical points by illustrating the entire continent with colonial imagery,” Ms. Calondo wrote in a follow-up tweet.

In response, the German Foreign Office issued an apology, saying “Noted and I apologize.” It says the tweet was not meant to be offensive, but rather to “expose the lies that Russia is using to justify its imperialist war of aggression against Ukraine.”

Lavrov visited South Africa, Eswatini, Angola and Eritrea this week, where he reiterated his claims that the United States and its Western allies are using Ukraine as a tool in a “hybrid war” against Russia.

Many African countries still maintain historical ties with Moscow. South Africa was one of several countries that abstained from last year’s UN vote condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Eritrea voted against the resolution along with Russia, Belarus, North Korea and Syria.

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