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AP Interview: Bulgarian in contention to become 1st woman UN chief

  • FILE - In this Nov. 2 2014 file photo, Irina Bokova, the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) listens to a question during a press conference at the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad, Iraq. She’s already the first female and Eastern European to head UNESCO, and could be the first female and Eastern European United Nations secretary-general, too _ if her government gets its way and she wins support from the five U.N. Security Council members. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)

    FILE - In this Nov. 2 2014 file photo, Irina Bokova, the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) listens to a question during a press conference at the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad, Iraq. She’s already the first female and Eastern European to head UNESCO, and could be the first female and Eastern European United Nations secretary-general, too _ if her government gets its way and she wins support from the five U.N. Security Council members. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Nov. 12 2013 file photo, Irina Bokova from Bulgaria,  the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, reacts to her re-election with supporters in the assembly hall of the 37th session of the General Conference of UNESCO, in Paris.  She’s already the first female and Eastern European to head UNESCO, and could be the first female and Eastern European United Nations secretary-general, too _ if her government gets its way and she wins support from the five U.N. Security Council members. Irina Bokova, the 61-year-old Bulgarian chief of the U.N. cultural agency, has been nominated by the Bulgarian government to become the next U.N. secretary-general, after the second mandate of Ban Ki-Moon expires in 2016. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon, File)

    FILE - In this Nov. 12 2013 file photo, Irina Bokova from Bulgaria, the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, reacts to her re-election with supporters in the assembly hall of the 37th session of the General Conference of UNESCO, in Paris. She’s already the first female and Eastern European to head UNESCO, and could be the first female and Eastern European United Nations secretary-general, too _ if her government gets its way and she wins support from the five U.N. Security Council members. Irina Bokova, the 61-year-old Bulgarian chief of the U.N. cultural agency, has been nominated by the Bulgarian government to become the next U.N. secretary-general, after the second mandate of Ban Ki-Moon expires in 2016. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon, File)  (The Associated Press)

The chief of UNESCO says it's time for a female U.N. secretary-general as her country, Bulgaria, nominates her to succeed Ban Ki-Moon.

Irina Bokova is already the first female and eastern European to head the U.N. cultural agency. She has not declared she is going for the top U.N. job, but Bokova is certainly not putting rumors at rest. She has recently waded into geopolitics, visiting Iraqi conflict zones and preparing to mediate in the Syrian conflict. Now, for the first time, she has said in an Associated Press interview that Ban's successor must be female.

"It's time for a woman to become secretary-general. Definitely," Bokova told The AP from UNESCO's Paris headquarters.

Ban's second mandate expires in 2016.