Egypt out of race for UNESCO chief, endorses French candidate

Egypt out of race for UNESCO chief, endorses French candidate

The French-Moroccan had 18 votes in the third round of votes, the same as Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari, the former Qatari minister of culture.

The Chinese candidate Tang Qian, who serves as UNESCO's Assistant-Director General for Education, and Lebanese worldwide law expert Vera El Khoury respectively had five and four votes only.

Azoulay would become the second French leader of the organization since Rene Maheu served as director-general in 1961-74. More than ever, UNESCO needs an initiative that resonates with all member states, one that will restore confidence, overcome political divisions and be dedicated exclusively to UNESCO's key missions.

Khattab acquired 13 votes in the third round, and with the Chinese candidate's withdrawal she has the chance to garner at least 18 votes in the upcoming.

The next stage of voting will be held on Thursday.

The UNESCO vote comes as Egypt and three other Arab nations continue a months-long boycott of Qatar over allegations that the government funds extremists and has overly warm ties to Iran.

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The victor must be confirmed by the UNESCO general conference next month and will replace outgoing Director-General Irina Bokova in January 2018.

Under these circumstances, our candidacy for the post of Director-General of UNESCO takes on a new significance.

Arab countries have long wanted to lead UNESCO.

The final vote comes the day after the USA and Israel said they plan to pull out of the Paris-based organization over perceived anti-Israel bias.

A fifth round will be held in case no candidate gets the absolute majority, but it is not required to get 30 votes this time.

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