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MFA Spokesperson expresses deepest regret over UNESCO's involvement in awarding a prize to an accused charged with murder and vandalism.

Sunday 22 April 2018
12:00 PM

​​Official MFA Spokesperson Counselor Ahmed Abu Zeid  stated that the Foreign Ministry has learnt that UNESCO intends to award so-called Mahmoud Abou Zeid aka "Shawkan" with an international prize. The Spokesperson expressed deepest regret that the august organization of UNESCO would be involved into honouring an accused charged with committing terrorist actions and criminal offenses including murder, attempted murder, infringing upon policemen and civilians, as well as, burning and vandalizing public and private properties. Counselor Abu Zeid added that the Foreign Ministry has assigned Egypt's permanent representative at UNESCO in Paris with handing over to the Organization's Secretariat a thorough file on the charges leveled against the accused. These charges have a solely criminal nature and are not politically motivated, as some might claim. Nor are they related in any way to practicing journalism or exercising freedom of expression. In fact, they are far beyond what any independent, reputable journalist who respects his profession, ought to do.

Spokesperson Abu Zeid mentioned that the Ministry's continued communications suggest that nomination of the accused was driven by a number of non-governmental organizations including organizations dominated by the state of Qatar, which is known for its support and continuous defense of the Brotherhood terrorist group. Counselor Abu Zeid noted that neither is it imaginable nor acceptable that UNESCO falls into the trap of politicization and favoritism, or be dragged into the implementation of the agenda of certain countries, which drift the organization away from its noble mission as the world's civilizational  and cultural facade.

The MFA Spokesperson, further, noted that this regrettable scene evokes what has been previously stirred up about UNESCO's politicization, and the statement released in this regard by the Minister of Higher Education and Egypt's permanent representative at UNESCO on April 9th. The statement warned of the consequences of plunging UNESCO in matters and issues of politics that stand in contradiction to the principles and objectives upon which it was established; taking into consideration the increasing debate about the nature of the existing cooperation between the Organization's Secretariat and non-governmental entities- some of which are included on lists of terrorist organizations- without the approval of member states or examining the identity of these entities. The Spokesperson added that these developments, also, remind us of the practices played out during the Secretary General's election process last October, which did not commensurate with the status of a UN organization.​

Counselor Abou Zeid concluded his statements noting that bestowing the accused Shawkan with an international award constitutes a disregard of the rule of law and the judicial procedures taken against an individual accused of purely criminal offenses. He noted that Egypt, with its civilizational and cultural role and weight, can only examine proposals and ideas made to reform the Organization's working mechanisms. The MFA Spokesperson, further, noted that UNESCO is in need of a comprehensive and serious revision of its working methods during the upcoming period under its new chairmanship.