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Cablegate: Goa Believes Ferrero-Waldner Could Win Unesco Race

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DE RUEHVI #1089 2401430
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 281430Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY VIENNA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3220
INFO RUCNSCO/UNESCO COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS VIENNA 001089

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR IO/UNESCO AND EUR/CE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL UNESCO EG AU
SUBJECT: GOA BELIEVES FERRERO-WALDNER COULD WIN UNESCO RACE

REF: PARIS FR 01137

1. (SBU) MFA SecGen Kyrle told the Ambassador August 27 that
he does not believe Egyptian Culture Minister Farouk Hosni
will draw enough votes to win the race for the UNESCO
Director General position on the first ballot. Kyrle said he
expects Austria's Benita Ferrero-Waldner to finish second to
Hosni in the first round, and believes she has a good chance
to surpass him in a subsequent ballot. Several of the other
candidates are likely to drop out along the way, and some of
their supporters will then back Ferrero-Waldner, he
predicted. EU member states have discussed the UNESCO
election informally, and will address the issue of what to do
after the first round if Hosni fails to secure the position,
he said. At a reception to introduce Ferrero-Waldner to
diplomatic representatives in Vienna, Ferrero-Waldner told
Ambassador and DCM that she expects EU foreign ministers to
discuss and agree on an EU-endorsed candidate at their next
informal "Gymnich-format" meeting. She expressed optimism
about her prospects. The French Charge, who formerly served
in Cairo, told us that President Sarkozy had committed to
Hosni in an unguarded moment and Paris was now looking at how
to handle the situation. The French felt Hosni would be
problematic for UNESCO and the Charge added Hosni was known
for being corrupt "even in Egypt" and did not have a clue
about management.

2. (SBU) Kyrle, in his meeting with the Ambassador,
maintained that Ferrero-Waldner's experience as EU
Commissioner for External Affairs provides an ideal
background for the UNESCO post. As EU Commissioner,
Ferrero-Waldner has been heavily involved in intercultural
and inter-religious dialogue; she played a leading role, for
example, in lowering tensions caused by the controversy over
the 2005 publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet
Mohammed, he said. Much of her work has also been focused on
improving education in the developing world -- a key element
in promoting social justice, and directly related to UNESCO's
cultural mission, he said. Moreover, he added,
Ferrero-Waldner oversees a workforce of more then 3,500
people, demonstrating that she has the managerial skills to
run a large organization. The Ambassador replied that the
U.S. is not officially endorsing any candidates, but
considers Ferrero-Waldner to be among the well-qualified
contenders.
EACHO

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