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Egyptian culture minister expected to win UNESCO chief
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09:26, May 06, 2009

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The Egyptian Culture Minister Farouq Hosni is expected to win the elections for the post of next director general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as he is backed by enough countries, Hosam Nassar, an consultant of the minister, told Xinhua in an interview.

Farouq Hosni, who applied for the UNESCO position last year amid Israeli opposition, has "a great opportunity to win the up-coming elections in October," Nassar said, adding that the minister has got enough backings among the electoral committee.

As for the specific number of countries which back Farouq Hosni, he said that there are about 30 out of 58 countries which have the right to vote.

Earlier, Russia, Chad, Congo and Brazil have announced their support for Farouq Hosni.

But Nassar said that acquiring enough public backing does not mean the minister is surely to win the elections, as the vote will be secret.

The vote is run through secret and direct system. 58 countries have the right to vote and the winner should acquire the minimum votes of 30.

"Farouq Hosni is facing competition from candidates from Lithuania, Bulgaria, Algeria and Tanzania," Nassar said.

Egypt has been exerting efforts to public campaign aimed to bring Hosni to the seat of UNESCO chief.

Since the beginning of this year, the culture minister has attended the meeting of Arab culture ministers in Damascus and the African summit in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.

The minister met 50 Arab and African ambassadors on April 24 in Paris to receive the confirmation to support him in the elections.

Nassar said that these activities come in line with Egypt's continuous campaign to cover all the representatives' geographical areas in UNESCO.

However, Nassar refused to comment on the Israeli rejection of Farouq Hosni.

Israel announced Sunday that it will do its best to prevent Farouq Hosni from winning the elections, accusing him of opposing normalizing relations between the Arabs and Israelis.

Farouq Hosni rejected earlier any forms of normalization with the Jewish country, saying it is impossible unless Israel is committed to peace.

"If he wins, he may change his view (on Israel) as Israel is a member of UNESCO."


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