Arab states may want their turn at the helm of UNESCO, but the barbs hurled by Egypt at rival candidate Qatar during the vote highlights the fractious geopolitics paralyzing the workings of the U.N. cultural agency.
The Paris-based body is known for designating World Heritage sites like the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria and Grand Canyon National Park, but it has struggled for relevance as it becomes increasingly hobbled by regional rivalries and a lack of money.
After two days of a secret ballot that could run until Friday, Qatar’s Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari leads France’s Audrey Azoulay and Egyptian hopeful Moushira Khattab. Three other candidates, including from Lebanon, trail. The row between Qatar and Egypt has its roots in the crisis engulfing Qatar and its Gulf Arab neighbors which have severed diplomatic, trade and travel ties with Doha after accusing it of sponsoring hardline Islamist groups, a charge Qatar denies. “The dispute has been bubbling for several months, but what we’re seeing with the Arab candidates is that they are extremely divided. Some of the clashes are quite virulent,” said one UNESCO ambassador…
Read more : Reuters, 11.10.2017