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News Worms


Egypt out of race for UNESCO chief, endorses French candidate

Egypt out of race for UNESCO chief, endorses French candidate

Azoulay narrowly beat Qatar's Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari in the final 30-28 vote after she won a run off against a third finalist from Egypt earlier Friday.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry made the request at a meeting on Friday with incumbent UNESCO chief Irina Bokova, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, Ahmed Zeid added.

Israel itself announced shortly afterwards that it would follow suit.

The final vote between Azoulay and Al-Kawari will take place later on Friday, with a toss in case of a tie.

Khattab acquired 13 votes in the third round, and with the Chinese candidate's withdrawal she has the chance to garner at least 18 votes in the upcoming.

Just as daunting will be her job of reforming the agency struggling under the weight of a bureaucracy that has become unwieldy over the seven decades since its foundation. The victor has then to be granted approval from the organization's 195 member states in November.

Al-Kuwari topped the voting and qualified for the final round.

The agency's outgoing head, Bulgaria's Irina Bokova, told French radio that UNESCO's "universal mission was in jeopardy".

In the face of the Arab divisions, France presented Azoulay as a consensus figure who could mend fences and soothe tensions caused by recent resolutions against Israel. More than ever, UNESCO needs an initiative that resonates with all member states, one that will restore confidence, overcome political divisions and be dedicated exclusively to UNESCO's key missions.

He has notably been accused by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which combats anti-Semitism, of remaining silent over the presence of anti-Semitic books at a fair in Doha when he was culture minister.

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