Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau traveled to Dakar, Senegal, for a two-day diplomatic visit with his counterpart, President Macky Sall. Senegal is Canada’s second-closest African partner after Ethiopia, a relationship Trudeau wishes to capitalize on to help push for its United Nations reform efforts that would see the Security Council expand from 12 to 25 seats, with Canada sitting at one of them. This attempt may be complicated due to the thorny issue of LGBTQ rights. Same-sex activity is criminalized in Senegal.
Standing alongside Sall at a press conference, Trudeau attempted to speak around the issue, saying, “Senegal is a leader in terms of democratic values and we all still have work to do, but we have had a very good discussion on this matter.” In response, Sall said his country “is not homophobic”. When pressed, he added that changing the law is not on the cards, “because our society does not accept it. Society will evolve; it will take the time that it takes.”