Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari, Qatar's candidate for the position of Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), is seen at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France, October 11, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari, Qatar's candidate for the position of Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), is seen at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France, October 11, 2017. REUTERS/Charles

Reuters quotes Egypt Today on Qatari candidate's sketchy activities

Wed, Oct. 11, 2017
CAIRO - 11 October 2017: Reuters reported from Egypt Today that Qatar has been leading some suspicious activities during the UNESCO director-general election rounds in Paris.

"In an interview with Egypt Today and retweeted by the foreign ministry, Egypt's top diplomat Sameh Shoukry suggested Qatar was using its financial power to influence UNESCO's 58-member executive council," Reuters reported.

They further elaborated: "'It is an organisation that is owned by international society and cannot be sold to a particular state or individual,' he was quoted as saying when asked about the Qatari candidate's campaign logo 'I'm not coming empty handed.'"

A diplomat at Qatar's embassy in Paris declined to comment to Reuters' reporter. A Qatari official at UNESCO's headquarters also declined immediate comment.

Egyptian candidate Khattab's first message on Twitter in three months was a re-tweet of an article in the Israeli press entitled "Israel bemoans emerging Qatari victory in UNESCO leadership vote."
Reuters
Screenshot of Reuters' story quoting Egypt Today's interview with Egyptian Foreign Minister

A campaign was launched on social media opposing the Qatari candidate.

Observers have been nervous about Kawari’s candidacy, as he is highly believed to be anti-Semitic.

Kawari, who served as Qatar’s culture minister from 2008 to 2016, headed a set of programs that used to promote anti-Semitic ideas.

According to Shimon Samuels, international relations director for the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), Kawari allowed his country to display a stand at the Frankfurt Book Fair with texts that “fomented conspiracy theories against Jews.”

Samuels told Algemeiner that the Qatari Ministry of Culture published a book in 2013 entitled "Jerusalem in the Eyes of the Poets," which included a preface written by Kawari himself; the book is loaded with anti-Semitic statements.

In his interview with Egypt Today, Shoukry described the Qatari candidate as "inexperienced".


"I imagine he is a candidate that lacks the cultural background, and I imagine that if there is a genuine desire for Arab solidarity, there would be an appreciation for the Afro-Arab candidacy because it is represented by a quarter of the international community’s component, seeing that the 54 African states represent one fourth of the United Nations," he said.

He added that Qatar has to understand that UNESCO is an international organization and not for "sale".

"There is a saying in the UNESCO that the organization is not for sale. It is an organization that is owned by the international society and cannot be sold to a particular state or individual who controls its ability and policy and those who support it. There is another saying that the UNESCO is not FIFA, and it is a prestigious and state-owned organization represented by permanent representatives, who must stand firmly to maintain the organization’s status," he said.

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