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UNESCO - Announcement of USA withdrawal (12 October 2017)

UNESCO - Announcement of USA withdrawal (12 October 2017)

The vote was 30 to 28.

The proceedings have been overshadowed by the USA decision, announced Thursday, to withdraw from the agency.

Just as daunting will be her job of reforming the agency struggling under the weight of a bureaucracy that has become unwieldy over the seven decades since its foundation.

Arab states had been lobbying hard to get an Arab candidate elected as UNESCO's director-general.

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry expressed to reporters Egypt's wishes for best luck in the final round to France after Egypt's candidate Moushira Khattab won only 25 votes in the UNESCO fifth round, while France's Audrey Azoulay received 31 votes.

Azoulay will now face off against Qatar's Hamad Al-Kawari in a vote due to be held at 6:00 pm (1600 GMT).

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They are divided between backers of oil-rich Qatar and its poorer rival Egypt, which is part of a Saudi-led coalition that has been blockading Qatar since June over its alleged support for radical Islamists and ties to Iran.

The ministry said the request made Friday was submitted by Egypt's permanent mission to UNESCO. This is the initiative that France is now undertaking through the candidacy of Audrey Azoulay.

"Now more than ever UNESCO needs a project... which restores confidence and overcomes political divisions", the foreign ministry said in a statement reacting to the USA pullout.

The withdrawal occurred before the fourth round of voting for the UNESCO director general position, in which Lebanese national Vera El-Khourey Lacoeuilhe is a candidate.

He has notably been accused by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which combats anti-Semitism, of remaining silent over the presence of anti-Semitic books at a fair in Doha when he was culture minister.