Egyptian diplomat said to call other Africans ‘dogs and slaves’
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Egyptian diplomat said to call other Africans ‘dogs and slaves’

Kenyan diplomat who heard invective moves to ban Egypt from representing Africa; Cairo to probe incident

Dov Lieber is The Times of Israel's Arab affairs correspondent.

Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Jan Eliasson speaks during the United Nation Environment Assembly (UNEA) on May 26, 2016 in Nairobi. (AFP PHOTO / SIMON MAINA)
Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Jan Eliasson speaks during the United Nation Environment Assembly (UNEA) on May 26, 2016 in Nairobi. (AFP PHOTO / SIMON MAINA)

Egypt’s foreign ministry is opening an investigation into claims that an Egyptian diplomat referred to Sub-Saharan Africans as “dogs and slaves” during a United Nations event, Egyptian media reported Tuesday.

Kenyan diplomat Yvonne Khamati accused the unnamed Egyptian diplomat of making the comments last week during a United Nations Environment Assembly meeting held in Nairobi.

On Sunday Khamati wrote a memo to the dean of her diplomatic corps demanding that Egypt no longer represent Africa in any official capacity due to the remarks. The memo was leaked to the Kenyan press, leading to a national uproar.

Khamati says the degrading remarks were made during a conversation between Egyptian and other African delegations over a failed resolution to determine the environmental impact on Gaza of the 2014 summer war between Israel and Hamas. Egypt had reportedly endorsed the resolution.

While Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry ordered an investigation into the incident, his ministry at the same time released a statement “completely” denying the comments had even been made, the Egyptian news site al-Ahram reported.

The ministry’s statement also accused Khamati of overstepping her authority by trying to ban Egypt from representing Africa.

“It is entirely unacceptable to generalize and present weak accusations against the Egyptian state and people that cast doubt on their belonging to Africa and on Egypt’s ability to represent African interests,” the statement read.

Though the Egyptian government seemed unapologetic, citizens of the most populous Arabic country took to Twitter to express their outrage over the comment.

Using the hashtag #WeAreSorryAfrica, regular Egyptians apologized for their official’s alleged statement.

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