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08PARISFR2103 2008-11-14 16:48:00 CONFIDENTIAL Mission UNESCO
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L  PARIS FR 002103 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/14/2018


1. (C) SUMMARY: As instructed, Ambassador Oliver met with the
Ambassador of Egypt to UNESCO to inform her that the U.S. would be
unable to support their candidate for the position of the next
Director General of UNESCO. Ambassador Oliver also had conversations
on this matter with the UNESCO Ambassadors from Japan, the UK,
Hungary, France, and the Czech Republic. There was complete
agreement among all these individuals that the Egyptian candidate,
the Minister of Culture, Farouk Hosni, is not the right individual to
lead UNESCO, and that some way must be found to prevent him from
being elected as Director General. END SUMMARY.

2.(C) As instructed by IO, Ambassador Oliver met on
November 13 with the Egyptian Ambassador to UNESCO, Dr. Shadia
Kenawy, to tell her that the United States would not be able to
support the Egyptian candidate for the next Director General of
UNESCO, Egyptian Minister of Culture, Farouk Hosni. The election
will be held at UNESCO's next General Conference in October, 2009.
Ambassador Oliver said that although the U.S. understood the desire
of Egypt and the other Arab states to have an Arab Director General,
we had decided that Mr. Hosni was not the right individual for the
position. The Egyptian Ambassador seemed slightly surprised, and
asked whether this message had been communicated to Cairo.
Ambassador Oliver said that she did not know. The Egyptian
Ambassador was gracious but clearly very disappointed. In response
to a question from Ambassador Oliver, the Egyptian Ambassador said
that Egypt had not yet sent a letter to UNESCO formally designating
him as a candidate for the Director General position at UNESCO. The
Egyptian Ambassador then told Ambassador Oliver that she would
immediately report their conversation to Cairo.

3. (C) Ambassador Oliver also met with the Japanese Ambassador to
UNESCO, Mr. Tadamichi Yamamoto, to share the U.S. position with him.
The Japanese Ambassador was very pleased, and said that they also did
not support Mr. Hosni, but because of the desire of Director General
Matsuura to be perceived as neutral, Japan could not take the lead in
opposing Mr. Hosni. He added that Japan would insist on identifying
the strongest individual for the next Director General position,
regardless of what region that individual came from.

4. (C) Ambassador Oliver also met with Ambassador Peter Landymore,
the UK Ambassador to UNESCO, to inform him of the U.S. position. He
said that he agreed that Mr. Hosni was not a good candidate. He also
said that the UK was not very engaged at the moment with UNESCO, and
would probably not take an active role in the Director General

5. (C) Ambassador Oliver also met with Ambassador Andras Lakatos, the
Ambassador to UNESCO from Hungary. Ambassador Lakatos congratulated
Ambassador Oliver for having spoken to the Egyptian Ambassador. He
said that he hoped this would slow down or end Egyptian pressure on
other states to support Mr. Hosni. He mentioned that the Egyptians
were methodically getting support for Mr. Hosni from UNESCO's member
states. In addition to the statement by the Arab foreign ministers,
he reminded Ambassador Oliver that the Egyptians have already
obtained support for Mr. Hosni from the African Ministers of Culture.
He said that he expected that they would try to get the African
heads of state to endorse Mr. Hosni at the African Union meeting in
mid-January, after which they would go after the IOC states and the
G77 states. When Ambassador Oliver asked whether he thought that the
Egyptians would continue to move ahead with Mr. Hosni in the face of
U.S. opposition, he said that he thought it was possible. He added
that he thought that in the event the U.S. refused to pay their dues,
that the Saudis or some other rich Arab state could easily make up
the difference.

6. (C)Ambassador Oliver also met with UNESCO Ambassador Catherine
Colonna of France. Ambassador Colonna complimented the U.S. for
having made its position known to the Egyptian Ambassador, as she
thought it would have been a big mistake to have waited and allowed
the Egyptians to have time to get more endorsements for their
candidate. She said that France also had serious problems with Mr.
Hosni, and that they had deliberately not endorsed the Egyptian
candidacy, despite the informal remarks made by Present Sarkozy one
year ago. Since France is UNESCO's host country, the French support
is very important to the Egyptians. Ambassador Colonna disagreed
with the Hungarian Ambassador, and said that she thought that the
lack of U.S. support might make the Egyptians change their mind about
Mr. Hosni.

7. (C)Ambassador Oliver also talked with Ambassador Petr Janyska, the
Ambassador of the Czech Republic to UNESCO, concerning the Director
General race. The Czech Ambassador said he had grave concerns about
Mr. Hosni and that we needed to find some way to stop his candidacy.
Ambassador Oliver agreed to meet with the Czech Ambassador to talk
about this issue, but decided not to tell him of her conversation
with the Egyptian Ambassador at this time, as she felt that it was
necessary to keep this information confined to a small group so that
it would be easier for the Egyptians to withdraw their candidate if
they decide to do so, as they will not want to do that if it is
perceived that they did so as a result of U.S. pressure.

8. (C) Comment: Having had all these conversations at UNESCO, and in
view of the fact that all these conversations have been reported by
the Ambassadors to their respective capitals, it is vital that the
U.S. reinforce this message in Cairo. Each of the Ambassadors that
Ambassador Oliver spoke to agreed that the U.S. position should stay
confidential for the moment since Mr. Hosni is not yet an official
candidate, in the hope that Egypt will decide to find some
face-saving way to end the Hosni candidacy. If instead Egypt
continues to promote Mr. Hosni's candidacy, it was agreed that the
U.S. position would be "leaked" throughout UNESCO, so that other
countries would understand that Egypt had not sewn up the Director
General race. It was agreed that should be done in order to
encourage other high-level candidates to enter the race, something
that at the moment countries are reluctant to do. If no other
candidates enter the race, UNESCO's member states will have to choose
between Mr. Hosni and the Ambassadors of Bulgaria and Lithuania to
UNESCO. Many other countries, including several of the Arab
countries have expressed great concern about Mr. Hosni's candidacy,
but are too nervous to defy Egypt. It is clear that many of UNESCO's
member states would be very relieved to see Mr. Hosni's candidacy