Egypt minister says he was not present when Egyptian diplomat allegedly used slurs against Africans

Ahram Online , Tuesday 31 May 2016

Egypt's environment minister Khaled Fahmy (Photo: Ministry of environment)

Egypt's environment minister said Tuesday that he did not attend a United Nations environment assembly in Kenya where an Egyptian official allegedly called sub-Saharan Africans "slaves and dogs."

Yvonne Khamati, Kenyan chairwoman of the Africa Diplomatic Corp Technical Committee, sent a letter dated 29 May to the dean of the Africa Diplomatic Corps to protest the alleged insults made by an Egyptian diplomat during the closing session.

Environment minister Khaled Fahmy said that neither he nor an Egyptian support delegation attended the session where the incident allegedly took place.

He said in a statement late Tuesday that he commissioned Uganda's environment minister to represent him during all assembly meetings as he had other commitments in Cairo.

He added that a two-member Egyptian environment support team taking part in the assembly had already flown to Cairo one day before that meeting took place.

The minister's remarks were in response to Khamati's criticism, where she named the minister and the Egyptian delegation, as well as local media reports that he or other ministry officials made the controversial comments.

The Egyptian delegation at the UNEA meeting was headed by an assistant foreign minister for environmental affairs.

In her letter, Khamati slammed the Egyptian diplomat's "uncivilised, undiplomatic, irresponsible, degrading and insulting behaviour." She asked for an apology and said that Egypt should be stopped from representing Africa in any leadership position.

In response, Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry has ordered an investigation into the alleged incident, though he called the accusations "flimsy."

His ministry also directed the Egyptian embassy in Nairobi to send a "strongly worded" memo to the Council of African Ambassadors in the Kenyan capital to express Cairo's rejection and indignation at the "excesses" committed by Khamati in her letter on Egypt.

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