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.