Published: Sat, October 14, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Moushira Khattab to run in UNESCO election's fourth round Thursday

Moushira Khattab to run in UNESCO election's fourth round Thursday

Arab states believe the job of director-general of the 195-member organisation should go to one of them for the first time, but regional tensions have complicated the task.

The Qatari and French candidates, Hamad bin Abd elaziz alKawari and Audrey Azoulay garnered 18 votes each, Khattab garnered 13 votes, China's candidate Qian Tang 5 votes, and Lebanon's Vera El Khoury Lacoeuilhe 4 votes.

UNESCO's general assembly will have to sign off on the board's pick next month, but it's seen as a formality.

Egypt's foreign ministry says it is demanding an inquiry into alleged "violations" during the elections for the top position at the U.N.'s cultural agency.

The proceedings have been overshadowed by the USA decision, announced Thursday, to withdraw from the agency.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, who was in Paris for the vote, "urged all his friends to vote for France" instead of Qatar in the final round, a member of Khattab's delegation told AFP.

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

The rift continued to fester in recent years, with the organisation becoming the scene of repeated diplomatic flare-ups after efforts led by Arab countries to pass resolutions critical of Israel.

Qatar has lobbied intensely for the post - and has increased its financial contribution to support UNESCO in recent years - but its candidate has been dogged by old allegations of anti-Semitism.

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

Over the past few days, Egyptian media has accused energy-rich Qatar of buying votes for its contender, Al-Kawari.

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