NEW YORK CITY: Echoing other developing countries, Egypt’s top diplomat on Saturday implored countries to reform the UN and lamented double standards in how the world’s powerful nations deal with crises and expressed concern about growing national debt incurred during the pandemic.
Speaking at the annual UN Generally Assembly, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry also talked about Africa’s food crisis, saying one in every five people on the continent are at risk of hunger.
The pandemic along with the effects of climate change and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have impacted the cost and availability of grain. Egypt is the world’s biggest importer of wheat and had to take out loans to purchase wheat to feed the country’s poor.
Shoukry additionally urged support for poorer countries facing the ravages of climate change. “They are the most deserving of such support,” he said.
Egypt is host and president of the upcoming UN climate change conference, known as COP27.
Egypt, which has a population of over 103 million people, is also facing a potential water crisis from Ethiopia’s controversial mega-dam that is being built on the Blue Nile.
Shoukry said that while Egypt recognizes Ethiopia’s rights to development, Egypt will not let go of its right to the water of the Nile River, which he said has always been a part of the nation’s history.