Reliable sources who attended the UNESCO's voting sessions for the director-general post have revealed to Egypt Today some behind-the-scene actions between the Qatari and French candidates. Qatar’s Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari and France’s Audrey Azoulay both received 18 votes each in the voting to replace UNESCO’s director-general Irina Bokova by the start of 2018.
Egyptian diplomat Moushira Khattab received 13 votes, according to results posted on UNESCO’s website. According to the sources, Kawari was seen warmly receiving France’s Azoulay in his UNESCO’s candidacy room no. S. 375; apparently, what was agreed upon inside that room is what affected the voting process in its 3rd round that took place Wednesday.
The suspicious meeting came after Vietnam withdrew its candidate Pham Sanh Chau, a decision that Azoulay knew about, especially after some inside talks that France agreed with Vietnam to withdraw its candidate to strengthen the French candidate’s ground after receiving only 13 votes in the second round, which meant that France needed Vietnam’s five votes.
Controversy has been roaming around Kawari’s candidacy as he has been accused of being anti-Semitic, moreover, Qatar is highly believed that it will buy its way into the post, using its “money weapon”. An interview by Egypt Today with Egypt’s top diplomat Sameh Shoukry suggested Qatar was using its financial power to influence UNESCO’s 58-member executive council. Soon after
exposed the meeting, Kawari tried to move the lights away from the deal he struck with the French candidate, as he tweeted a photo of him and Azoulay with the following words: According to observers and political experts, these backstage actions indicate suspicions roaming around the kind of deal that Qatar and France agreed upon; aims for such deal are seen as either to force Egypt to withdrew in the last round for France, or to limit the competition between Qatar and France; leading to France winning the post.
The row between Qatar and Egypt has its roots back to the crisis engulfing Qatar and its Gulf Arab neighbors. Four Arab nations, namely Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, have been boycotting the tiny emirate of Qatar since May, accusing it of sponsoring hard-line Islamist groups and supporting terrorism.
Qatar is apparently ready to waive the position for France in order to cut off Egypt’s way to the post and to ensure France as an ally against its opponents who rejects the Qatari regime’s practices of supporting and financing terrorism; questions about whether the U.S. administration is aware of the conspiracy that is being plotted by Qatar and France remain unanswered.