Exclusive to The Middle East Online
Edited by Nelly Tawil
African diplomats accused an Egyptian official of referring to “dogs and slaves” in remarks about sub-Saharan Africa at a United Nations conference in Nairobi. The accusation was not received kindly by Egypt who has become entangled in an argument with the African diplomats.
Disagreements at the meeting arose after a resolution on Gaza was not passed due to lack of quorum.
Yvonne Khamati, chairwoman of the African Diplomatic Corps Technical Committee, stated on Tuesday that the diplomats sent a formal complaint to Kenya’s foreign ministry after the alleged remark at the U.N. Environmental Assembly last week.
“We all heard him,” Mrs Khamati said.
“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.
Mrs Khamati wrote a memo asking Egypt to apologise for the remarks saying that the “comments have no place in the unity of Africa,” and recommending Egypt no longer represent African interest at an official level.
Egypt’s foreign ministry countered that their claims that a Cairo official was responsible were unsubstantial and would investigate the matter, adding that it rejected “flimsy accusations against the Egyptian state and people that cast doubt on its African identity.”
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.”
The incident looked likely to add to tensions Egypt has had with its sub-Saharan neighbours, with whom it has been at odds in the past over how River Nile waters should be shared by the countries it passes through.