Unesco undecided on new leader

Candidate accused of "anti-Israel" remarks fails to win majority in UN culture body.

    Hosni's bid for the United Nations culture agency's senior post has stirred a political storm [File: AFP]

    But fighting off the attacks ahead of the first round of voting, Hosni insisted his comment was part of an angry exchange with supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and was taken out of context.

    He told France 24 television he had been referring only to "Israeli books that insult Islam," which he had been accused of tolerating.

    Split opinion

    Hosni's detractors include Auschwitz death camp survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, who says his appointment would "shame" the global community.

    But he is also behind efforts to rebuild a crumbling old synagogue in Cairo, Egypt's capital.

    At the Unesco headquarters in Paris, supporters hailed Hosni as "a man of peace" who would improve ties with Muslim countries.

    Envoys started voting on Thursday for a successor to Japan's Koichiro Matsuura as director-general.

    Still in the race are Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the European Commissioner for External Relations, Irina Bokova, the Bulgarian ex-foreign minister, and Ecuador's Ivonne Baki.

    If voting goes to a fifth round there must only be two candidates.

    The UN agency is mandated to promote global understanding through culture, education and science.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.