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Ghedira Re-elected Executive Director of IOC

Several incumbents retained their positions at the top of the International Olive Council hierarchy, but not without controversy as Italy again missed out on a leadership role and Israel's representative was unable to vote.

Abdellatif Ghedira (third from left) was re-elected to lead the International Olive Council.
Jul. 1, 2019
By Ylenia Granitto
Abdellatif Ghedira (third from left) was re-elected to lead the International Olive Council.

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Abdellatif Ghedira was re-elected exec­u­tive direc­tor of the International Olive Council (IOC) for another four-year term at the 109th ses­sion of the Council of Members meet­ing held in Marrakech, Morocco last month.

Deputy Directors Jaime Lillo (of Spain), in charge of admin­is­tra­tive and finan­cial affairs, and Mustafa Sepetçi (of Turkey), who is respon­si­ble for the tech­ni­cal, eco­nomic and pro­mo­tional units also had their man­dates extended until 2023.

Many in the indus­try saw this as a lost oppor­tu­nity for Italy, which accord­ing to pre­vi­ous diplo­matic agree­ments, was expect­ing to obtain a lead­ing posi­tion in the orga­ni­za­tion. The world’s second largest pro­ducer of olive oil will now need to wait another four years before get­ting the oppor­tu­nity to have a lead­ing role in the only inter­na­tional body that gov­erns olive oil pro­duc­tion and stan­dards.

Shortly after his re-elec­tion, Ghedira also dis­missed an Italian tech­ni­cian who had a piv­otal posi­tion in the orga­ni­za­tion. This move also upset Italian offi­cials and sparked con­tro­versy among oper­a­tors in the sector.

According to Italian media reports, sev­eral others also crit­i­cized some of the issues that emerged during and after the ses­sion.

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These reports said that the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Israel was not allowed to par­tic­i­pate in the ses­sion of the Council of Members, and there­fore was pre­vented from voting on the new direc­tors. The reason cited for Israel’s exclu­sion was an error on the coun­try’s reg­is­tra­tion.

According to the daily news­pa­per ItaliaOggi, a tech­ni­cal­ity was found by the com­mit­tee, which was com­posed of rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the European Union, Tunisia, Algeria and Turkey, that allowed the vote to go ahead with­out Israel’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive present. The rules of the IOC state that if less than two-thirds of member nations are present, a single vote against re-elec­tion can block the reap­point­ment of the incum­bent direc­tors.

The meet­ing was opened by the Egyptian Minister of Agriculture, Ezz El Din Abu Steit, who is the chair of the IOC for 2019, and was attended by the member coun­tries Algeria, Argentina, Egypt, the European Union (which also rep­re­sented Montenegro), Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia, Turkey and Uruguay.

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The United States and Georgia also par­tic­i­pated in the ses­sion as observers, with the IOC approv­ing lat­ter’s request for acces­sion. Georgia is now set to become the orga­ni­za­tion’s sev­en­teenth member. Representatives from Albania and Iran were also at the meet­ing, with the two nations join­ing the IOC’s advi­sory com­mit­tee.

Several insti­tu­tions, includ­ing the Arab Federation for Food Industries, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development also took part in the ses­sion as observers.

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During the ses­sion, the Arab Federation for Food Industries reached an agree­ment with the IOC to spread the orga­ni­za­tion’s qual­ity stan­dards across all Arab coun­tries, even those cur­rently out­side of the IOC.

There was a meet­ing of the IOC Administrative and Financial Affairs Committee, which was held on June 17, and an inter­na­tional sem­i­nar on the future of the olive sector in Morocco, orga­nized by the Moroccan del­e­ga­tion and the IOC tech­nol­ogy and envi­ron­ment unit, which was held on June 20.

At the end of the ses­sion, Ghedira thanked Nabil Chaouki of the Agriculture Ministry of Morocco, for the smooth run­ning of the ses­sion.