Egypt's nominee for UNESCO director-general Moushira Khattab, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (R) and Moussa Faqih, head of the African Union Commission - Press photo Egypt's nominee for UNESCO director-general Moushira Khattab, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (R) and Moussa Faqih, head of the African Union Commission - Press photo

Africa stands behind Egypt's candidate for UNESCO

Fri, Oct. 6, 2017
CAIRO – 6 October 2017: Permanent delegates of the African group countries met Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry at the headquarters of UNESCO on Friday in Paris, where they renewed their support for Egypt’s candidate running for the UNESCO top post, Moushira Khattab.

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The meeting aimed at coordinating the situation of African support two days ahead of the voting process, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry Ahmed Abu Zeid said in a press statement.

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This coordination comes as a result of decisions taken by African leaders during two African Union (AU) summits. One took place in July 2016 in Kigali and the other in Addis Ababa in July 2017 to ensure the choice of Khattab as the official and only candidate for the African continent, Abu Zeid added.

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Shoukry expressed his appreciation to Moussa Faki, the chairperson of African Union, for attending 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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For his part, Faki said that Africa represents a quarter of the members of the United Nations (UN) and that Egypt had its civilization and effect, so that requires the continuing African support.

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Khattab thanked Iraqi authorities over the withdrawal of their candidate for the sake of her candidacy. She commented on her Facebook page, “I am ready to assume the responsibility of UNESCO director general.”

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“We know how big Egypt is and its weight in Africa, and we honor Egypt’s candidate for two reasons – she is a woman and she had the capabilities and experience that make her worthy for the post," a delegate of Morocco to UNESCO stated.

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The African continent had a governing share within the UNESCO Executive Council. Of the 58 member states, 17 are African, including Egypt, and three other Arab countries are Sudan, Algeria and Morocco, as well as one third of the Arab countries representing Asia, namely Lebanon, Oman and Qatar.

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The Egyptian candidate for the UNESCO director-general post, Moushira Khattab, has to receive the absolute majority of votes from the 58 members of the Executive Board to win the elections.

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.
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