Post link 01 June 2016, 8:28
Khamati calls for Egypt's censure after minister insults Africans

31 MAY 2016 • 9:26PM

Cairo has said it will investigate allegations that an Egyptian official described Sub-Saharan Africans as "slaves and dogs." alleged incident took place at the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya, on May 25 CREDIT: EPA/EPA
Magdy Samaan, cairo

Kenyan diplomat Yvonne Khamati accused the unnamed official of making the comments at an environmental conference held in Nairobi last week.

Ms Khamati wrote a memo asking that Egypt apologize to Africa, and recommending that Egypt no longer represent African interests at an official level.

She said the comments "have no place in the unity of Africa," in her memo, which was circulated on social media.

According to Mrs Khamati, the Egyptian delegation was attempting to pass a resolution on Gaza, which could not be adopted due to lack of quorum as most of the delegations had left. As a result, a few African delegations consulted with Egypt to dissuade them from nullifying the resolution that had previously been adopted.

She said that during their consultations with Egypt the official said they would "speak in their sovereign capacity and to that extent, referred to Sub-Saharan Africa as dogs and slaves in Arabic," Mrs Khamati said in her memo.

"We all heard him," Mrs Khamati told the Telegraph.

"He spoke to his delegation in Arabic in the presence of African delegates that understand Arabic," Mrs Khamati wrote on Twitter.

"They are uncivilized, undiplomatic, degrading and insulting the fabric of Pan-Africanism," she said.

Mr Khamati didn't name the Egyptian official who made the comment.
Khamati in a photo during the conference with principal secretaries in the Ministry of Environment, Margaret Mwakima (left) and Charles Sunkuli.
Photo: @dr_mwakima/Twitter

The Ministry expressed Egypt’s "rejection and denunciation of the African Technical Committee Coordinator’s exceeding of her mandate, as well as Egypt’s rejection of the offenses towards Egypt contained in the memorandum."

“Divisions evolved when the resolution on Gaza was not adopted due to a lack of quorum because most delegations had left. As a result, a few African delegations consulted with the delegation of Morocco, in their capacity as Chair of the Arab League and Egypt, with the view to dissuade them from nullifying the resolutions that had already been adopted before the issue of quorum was raised.
During our consultations with Egypt, the head of the Egyptian delegation and current President of African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) dismissed our concerns by informing that they would speak in their sovereign capacity and to that extent, referred to sub-Saharan Africa as dogs and slaves, in Arabic,”
Khamati wrote in the memo.

She explained in a tweet that other African delegates who understand Arabic confronted the minister over the utterances.

But Khaled Fahmy, Egypt's Minister of Environment denied that "any Egyptian official could utter with such words." Mr Fahmy said that the Egyptian ambassador to Kenya and two consultants of his Ministry were representing Egypt in the conference.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry announced on Tuesday that he has ordered an immediate investigation into the incident, adding that necessary measures would be taken.

However it said that all of the information available to the ministry thus far indicates that no such language was used by the Egyptian representative at the meeting of the African Group in question.

The memo was also copied to the Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed and the Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Monica Juma.

Khamati calls for Egypt's censure after minister insults Africans
A photo of the memo dated May 29, showing Khamati’s recommendations following the incident.

The event, which has elicited fury among a number of Africans, was described in the memo as Egypt’s “undiplomatic, irresponsible, uncivilised and insulting behaviour”.

The memo did not spell out the name of the accused, though Egypt’s Minister of Environment Khaled Fahmy appears in the UNEP website as the AMCEN president.

The weeklong UNEA-2 conference saw 25 resolutions passed by 120 governments addressing environmental issues such as poaching as well as air and water pollution.


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