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Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Foreign Ministry investigating Nairobi incident, denies Kenyan diplomat’s claims

The Foreign Affairs Ministry issued a statement saying Minister Sameh Shoukry is investigating the claims by Kenyan diplomat Yvonne Khamati that Environmental Affairs Minister Khaled Fahmy referred to Sub-Saharan Africans as “dogs and slaves” during last weekend’s United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi. The investigation is underway, the statement read, but given the information available so far, the ministry is denying the accuracy of Khamati’s claims. MFA has directed the embassy in Nairobi to protest that attacks on Egypt as a nation are unacceptable and to make the point that Khamati, as a Kenyan diplomat, is acting beyond her remit. MFA is also calling on Kenya to make available any recordings or other evidence of the incident. The ministry is trying to position the incident as an attempt to cast doubt on its commitment to Africa.

Meanwhile, Fahmy claims he wasn’t even at the meeting at which he allegedly made the offending statement, according to Ahram Online. Fahmy said neither he nor an Egyptian support delegation attended the session, adding in a statement issued late Tuesday that he “commissioned Uganda’s environment minister to represent him during all assembly meetings as he had other commitments in Cairo.”

The Washington Post claims the remarks (if they were made) were made by “Mohamed Hesham Shobeir,” identified by the paper as the head of the Egyptian delegation at the the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, while the story has international legs as the Associated Press’ coverage gets picked up.

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