Egypt out of race for UNESCO chief, endorses French candidate

Ahram Online , Friday 13 Oct 2017

File Photo: Ambassador Moshira Khattab, Egypt’s candidate to the post of the director-general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

Egypt's candidate for the position of UNESCO director-general, Moushira Khattab, was out of the race on Friday after failing to move on to the final round of voting.

Khattab was competing for votes from UNESCO’s executive board against France's Audrey Azoulay, for a place in the final run-off vote against Qatari candidate Hamad Bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari.

The veteran Egyptian diplomat won 25 votes to Azoulay's 31.

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

The Egyptian delegation has endorsed the French candidate, expressing confidence in her capacity to lead the organisation given her considerable experience in the field.

Khattab had come joint-second place with Audrey in the fourth round of voting on Thursday, hence the run-off to decide who would compete with Al-Kawari.

Egypt submitted an official note to UNESCO’s outgoing chief, Irina Bokova, on Friday morning to request the verification of “violations that have been detected throughout the electoral process,” foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said in a statement.

The voting rounds for Bokova’s successor began on Monday, with Khattab coming third to the Qatari and French candidates.

Khattab, 73, served as Egypt's ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 1990 to 1995, and ambassador to South Africa from 1995 to 1999. She is also a former minister of family and population.

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