The American Bogdan-Martin preferred to a Russian at the head of the global telecoms agency
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The American Doreen Bogdan-Martin was elected on Thursday to head the UN telecommunications agency. She is well ahead of her opponent, the Russian Rashid Ismailov. Regaining control of this institution was an “absolute priority” for Washington.

On Thursday, September 29, she became the first woman to head the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the UN telecoms agency. American Doreen Bogdan-Martin won the election with 139 votes in favor, against 25 for her opponent, Russian Rashid Ismailov.

“Today, we have written history. After 157 years, we have broken the glass ceiling”, launched Doreen Bogdan-Martin, before the representatives of the 193 Member States.

The American takes over from Chinese Houlin Zhao, who has been secretary general of the ITU since 2014.

This victory had been described as “an absolute priority for the United States”, by the American Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The American president, Joe Biden, had even weighed in with all his official weight in this vote, publicly expressing his support for the American candidate.

Put an end to the Sino-Russian axis

No American had, in fact, led this organization since 1965. However, the IUT, founded 157 years ago, plays a role often considered essential in defining the future of the Internet and telecommunications. The UIT establishes the world standards as well for the mobile telephones as television or Internet. It is she who reflects, in particular, on the standards to be applied to the development of technologies as strategic as 5G or facial recognition.

Read also on France 24: At the global telecoms policeman, a struggle for influence between Russia and the United States

The competition between the American candidate and her Russian opponent was not directly linked to the war in Ukraine. But the invasion, which brings the opprobrium of the West to Russia, was on everyone’s mind.

However for Washington, the victory of Doreen Bogdan-Martin allows above all to put an end to the Sino-Russian hold on this institution. The ITU had not only been headed for ten years by a Chinese, but the Russian candidate, Rashid Ismailov, had spent part of his career in the service of the Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

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