Politics

Trudeau secures Senegal's vote for UN Security Council seat

Senegalese President Macky Sall pledged to support Canada's bid for a seat on the UN Security Council as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrapped up the second part of his visit to Africa.

Canada, Norway and Ireland are campaigning for two available seats

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took part in a joint press conference with President of Senegal Macky Sall at the Presidential Palace in Dakar, Senegal on Wednesday. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Senegalese President Macky Sall pledged today to support Canada's bid for a seat on the UN Security Council as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrapped up the second part of his visit to Africa.

Speaking during a news conference at the presidential palace in Senegal's capital Wednesday, Sall said it was "very easy" to root for Canada and that he would speak with his African counterparts to encourage them to cast their ballots for Canada when UN members vote in June.

Canada, Norway and Ireland are campaigning for two available seats at the powerful table at the UN. Trudeau has said winning the position for a two-year term would give Canada more influence on the world stage on such issues as peace, security and human rights.

Trudeau has spent several days in Africa, partly to drum up votes from leaders across the continent for Canada's campaign. He was previously in Ethiopia, where he met leaders attending an African Union summit before jetting to Kuwait to meet with Canadian soldiers there.

Prior to the news conference in Dakar, Trudeau and Sall greeted each other with big smiles and a hug. After stopping to listen to an honour guard play their two national anthems, the pair walked part way toward the palace with their arms around each other's backs.

Senegal's President Macky Sall walks alongside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau upon arrival at the Presidential Palace in Dakar, Senegal, Wednesday. Trudeau received Senegal's support for a seat on the UN Security Council. (Cheikh A.T/The Associated Press)

The apparent ease in their relationship stood in contrast to many of Trudeau's meetings with other African leaders over the weekend in Addis Ababa.

Sall nonetheless pushed back during the news conference in response to a question put to Trudeau about whether he'd raised the fact that homosexuality remains illegal in Senegal, saying the populace would reject any change to the law and denying that homosexuals are discriminated against.

"These laws reflect the vision and our way of living," he said in French. "This has nothing to do with being homophobic."

For his part, Trudeau said he brings up human rights every chance he gets, but acknowledged "there is more work to do."

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