Mushira Khattab- Hussein Tallal/ File photo Mushira Khattab- Hussein Tallal/ File photo

African unified position key to Khattab in UNESCO race: Egypt

Fri, Oct. 6, 2017
CAIRO – 6 October 2017: The unified African position pushed Ethiopian Tawadros Adhanom to win the post of the World Health Organization (WHO) chief executive, said Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in his meeting with African representatives in UNESCO for rallying support for Egypt’s candidate Moushira Khattab for UNESCO director general on Friday.

"If the African cohesion does not exist, the Ethiopian candidate could not win; it reflects the importance of African unity behind a particular candidate,” Shoukry said in his speech, praising the African countries’ “strong” support for Khattab.

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Mushira Khattab- Hussein Tallal/ File photo

At the Paris-based UNESCO headquarters, Egypt held a meeting with the 17 African representatives at the organization’s Executive Board to discuss the African support for Khattab two days before voting, said Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson in a statement on Friday. The voting will take place from October 9-12, in the presence of the 58 state members of UNESCO’s Executive Bureau. The winner, to be announced on November 15, will succeed Irina Bokova, whose term will end on November 14, after eight years behind the wheel.


During the African Summit in July 2016 in Addis Ababa, the African countries announced that Khattab is the only African candidate for the position.

UNESCO’s announced candidacy list includes nine candidates – four of them Arabs. The list includes Egypt's Khattab, who won the support of the African countries; Lebanese official candidate Vera Khoury, who has been working for UNESCO for 20 years; and former Qatari Minister of Culture Hamad Abdul Aziz al-Kawari, who is currently the cultural affairs adviser to the Emir of Qatar.

Other candidates are Audrey Azoulay (France), Polad Bülbüloglu (Azerbaijan), Juan Alfonso Fuentes Soria (Guatemala), Pham Sanh Chau (Vietnam), and Qian Tang (China).

Shoukry expressed his appreciation to Moussa Faki, the chairperson of African Union, for attending the Paris meeting aimed at supporting Egypt’s candidate. Shoukry said, “African integration was the cause of winning the Ethiopian candidate to the post of Director of World Health.”

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Mushira Khattab- Hussein Tallal/ File photo

Faki said that Africa represents a quarter of the members of the United Nations (UN), and Egypt had its civilization and effect, so that requires the continuing African support.
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