At UNESCO Prez of Gen Conf Tolls Bell On Azoulay
For several month, Inner City Press is alerting about the diplomatic moves by UNESCO’s Director General Audrey Azoulay and her closest teammates in the Secretariat in order to secure support for her reelection across the procedural line. The statements made by several ambassadors at the 210th Board session last December was the first breach of the adopted rules for the nomination of a Director-General. UNESCO has seen corruption and abuse of power over the last three years on a number of occasions, but never such blatant lack of respect for the governing bodies.
Regardless of established procedures, DG Audrey Azoulay kept using political pressure to bargain her reelection. The French DG is scared to death by the option of a fair competition in the reelection process and all those efforts are made in order to dissuade a potential candidacy from another country.
The circular letter sent off this week, on 2nd February, to 193 member states by the President of the General conference, the Ambassador of Turkey, Altay Cengizer (here) drew the attention of member states to the importance of respecting existing rules and practices. It whistled the end of the pre-electoral silly game by the French DG. As a consequence, the ambassadors, happily involved in the discreditable arrangement, felt badly exposed.
According to our sources, on the very next day, the Cabinet of Azoulay, Kacyanides and Firmin Matoko, initiated the political counteroffensive, despite not yet having a clue about what and how to do it about it. As reportedly said, Azoulay is “looking for a solution that could save the situation by attacking the President of the General Conference”. What remains unclear though in her reaction, is why not rather complying with the rules, since the letter is factual and was sent within the prerogatives and the obligations of the President Cengizer.
The first idea was to involve her tamed lapdog, the Moroccan ambassador Samir Addahre, but the maneuvering was considered to be too obvious, since Azoulay is half Moroccan and her father André Azoulay is the adviser of the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI. The next on the list was the eternal loyal follower, the ambassador of Tunisia, Ghazi Gherairi, who, being a lawyer himself, was smart enough to decline the offer to lead a charge that has no legal ground against the head of the supreme governing body. Still, he confirmed to the Cabinet that he would happily support it, should any ignoramus accept to initiate a political prosecution.
At the end, the only string-puppet left on hand in the Azoulay’s shop-window was the seductive ambassador of Jordan, Makram Queisi.
As pointed out by our source in the Cabinet, “As instructed by Azoulay, Makram, her intimate friend, will spend his weekend brainstorming with Kacyanides and some like-minded ambassadors, so as to sketch out the possible angles for retaliating to the President of the General conference. Azoulay has no doubt “Pretty Boy” Makram will go all-out to deliver, since he is one of those who rushed in sending her a letter of support”.
For some, the crux of the matter is whether the price for buying member states’ support to her stratagems is paid from UNESCO’s concealed accounts.
“Member states are becoming totally whacky to get involved in the plotting orchestrated by French “Queen of Disaster” and her Cabinet”, added our source. It is clear, nevertheless, for both for the Secretariat and for the big players at the Executive board, that the Turkish ambassador did the right thing by sending the corrective letter, while Azoulay totally lost the momentum.
Even few EU ambassadors confessed in private that “it was but time to put some order in the House”, although, understandably, the Europeans did not like the upbraiding apropos the importance of duly following and respecting democratic governance and electoral processes.
Whatever happens next week, after the letter by the President of the General conference, it will be problematical for Azoulay to pursue her unprecedentedly weird pre-electoral strategy.
The looming deadline of 15 March for the submission of candidacies is making them inexplicably nervous. One more month to go before either they calm down, in the absence of another candidate, or in the opposite case, to hit the roof. This is where UNESCO stands today.