Arab standoff looms over Unesco leadership vote

Arab standoff looms over Unesco leadership vote

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

China on Friday said it will continue working for the development of the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organisations (UNESCO), a day after the USA announced it was pulling out of the Paris-based agency.

Qatar's Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari and France's Audrey Azoulay are vying to get the needed 30 votes from UNESCO's executive board.

Arab states believe the job of director-general of the 195-member organisation should go to one of them for the first time, but regional rivalries and the USA and Israeli withdrawals looked set to undercut their ambitions.

China was silent on its reported decision to withdraw its candidate from the race for UNESCO's Director-General.

The ultimate victor, set to be decided in a final round of voting later Friday, will face the hard task of trying to persuade the USA and Israel to reverse course as well as tackling the allegations of anti-Israel bias.

Qatar has lobbied intensely for the post, and has increased its financial contribution to support Unesco in recent years, but its candidate has been dogged by old allegations of anti-Semitism.

Faced with him, without being from Serail, former minister of Culture of François Hollande, Audrey Azoulay, 45 years, where, passed by Court of Auditors, National Film Centre (CNC) and Elysée, has no less all its chances.

This is not the first time the U.S., a founding member, has walked out on the 195-member Unesco, best known for producing a list of World Heritage sites including tourist favourites such as the Grand Canyon or Cambodia's Angkor Wat.

ROME- US President Donald Trump decided the United States will leave UNESCO starting in December 2018, but the country will remain as an observer, the White House said on Thursday.

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