Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry condemned on Saturday statements made by the secretary general of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Eyad Madany, who mocked President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi during a conference in Tunisia.
Shoukry considered the statement a “severe encroachment” on a state that participated in the establishment of the OIC and its political leadership. Shoukry also stressed that these statements do not comply with the responsibilities of the secretary general.
Madany, a Saudi diplomat, referred on Friday at his opening speech at the OIC to the Tunisian president Beji Caid Essebsi as “Beji Caid Al-Sisi”, but then said that that was a “big mistake”, assuring that he is confident the refrigerator of Essebsi includes more than just water.
This was in reference to Al-Sisi’s earlier statements that were made during the National Youth Conference, in which he said that he had spent 10 years of his life with only water in his refrigerator without complaining. The statements triggered sarcastic comments, especially since Al-Sisi contradicted his own statement by saying that he was from a privileged family.
Shoukry concluded by saying that Madany’s comments substantially affect his responsibilities, and this will lead Egypt to reconsider its stance from the organisation and the secretary general.
Madany released a statement apologising for his comments, saying that his statement was a joke and that he didn’t mean to insult the Egyptian leadership represented in Al-Sisi. He also added that he respects Al-Sisi as the latter is leading an esteemed Arab country. Shoukry expressed his condemnation following the apology of Madany.
Media outlets in Egypt have reported conflicting statements. Privately-owned Al-Youm Al-Sabaa cited anonymous officials saying that several countries have called on Madany to step down from his position. The anonymous officials added that the statements of Madany could lead to unstable relations between Egypt and the OIC.
On the other hand, the privately-owned newspaper Al-Shorouk cited an anonymous official who excluded the possibility of any escalations against the secretary general, especially that Turkey is currently heading the organisation. Egypt and Turkey are not particularly on good terms following the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
Shoukry’s statement was the second condemnation from Egypt following the first one that was issued by Foreign Affairs Ministry’s spokesperson Ahmed Abou Zaid, which described the incident as “regrettable attitude” by Madany.
Tension erupted between Egypt and Saudi Arabia earlier this month following Egypt’s voting on the Russian draft resolution in the United Nations security council regarding a peace solution in Syria. Russia is supporting Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad, while Saudi Arabia and the United States are backing the Syrian opposition.