UN cul­tural agency to pick new chief af­ter US walk­out

Global Times - Weekend - - WORLD -

The UN’s cul­tural agency was set to elect a new chief on Fri­day, seek­ing some­one who can re­vive UNESCO’s for­tunes af­ter the US and Is­rael pulled out.

Who­ever gets the job needs to re­store rel­e­vance to the agency whose mis­sion is to pro­tect the world’s cul­tural and nat­u­ral her­itages that have been hob­bled by re­gional ri­val­ries.

Af­ter four days of se­cret bal­lot­ing at UNESCO’s Paris Head­quar­ter, Qatar’s for­mer cul­ture min­is­ter Ha­mad bin Ab­du­laziz al-Kawari qual­i­fied for the fi­nal vote, sched­uled Fri­day evening.

He was ex­pected to face off against ei­ther Moushira Khat­tab, an Egyp­tian diplo­mat and politi­cian, or Au­drey Azoulay, a for­mer French cul­ture min­is­ter, which­ever woman wins a bal­lot on Fri­day af­ter­noon.

“More than ever UNESCO needs a project that ral­lies the mem­ber states, reestab­lishes trust and cuts through the po­lit­i­cal di­vi­sions for the sake of UNESCO,” French for­eign min­istry spokesper­son Agnes Ro­matet-Es­pagne said ahead of the vote to re­place Irina Bokova, a Bul­gar­ian who has led the agency since 2009.

The US is meant to pro­vide a fifth of UNESCO’s fund­ing, but had al­ready been with­hold­ing that since 2011 when the body ad­mit­ted Pales­tine as a full mem­ber.

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