The head of the Egyptian delegation to the UNEA-2 conference reportedly described Africans from the Sub-Sahara part of the continent as “dogs and slaves”.
The country’s Minister for Environment and President of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) made the statement when he addressed the delegation.
And it was after a seeming misunderstanding over a proposal that was not adopted, during the meeting that was held at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) headquarters in Nairobi.
The incident has caused outrage and has attracted severe castigation among many particularly Africans from the Sub-Saharan region
The drama took place during the concluding part of United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-2) meeting last Friday May 27, 2016.
As expected the utterance shocked many who couldn’t believe a leader could use such obscene words.
This was after the sad incident came to light as Chair of the Africa Diplomatic Corps (ADC) technical committee Yvonne Khamati wrote to the Dean of the Africa Diplomatic Corps Amb. Kelebert Nkomani.
In the memo passed to many dignitaries, Khamati demanded for an immediate banishing of Egypt from representing the continent in any official capacity.
She asks that the country could be allowed if it renders an apology for it’s minister’s annoying remark.
Khamati wrote in the memo:
“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. They did this 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”.
Furthering, she explained in a tweet that other African delegates who understand Arabic confronted the minister over the statement.
@egy_a7mad He spoke to his delegation in Arabic in the presence of African delegates. That speak:understand Arabic
— Yvonne Khamati (@YvonneKhamati) May 30, 2016
The memo was also sent to Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed and the Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Monica Juma
In the memo, the incident was defined as Egypt’s “undiplomatic, irresponsible, uncivilised and insulting behaviour”.
The memo did not specify the name of the accused. But Egypt’s Minister of Environment Khaled Fahmy appears in the UNEP website as the AMCEN president.
The one week UNEA-2 conference saw 25 proposals passed by 120 governments addressing environmental issues ranging from poaching to air and water pollution.