U.S. to quit UNESCO over anti-Israel bias

12 October, 2017, 17:03 | Author: Wade Massey
  • State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert speaks during a briefing at the State Department in Washington Wednesday

The United States of America has pulled out of UNESCO, the cultural agency of the United Nations (UN), accusing it of having an anti-Israel bias.

While the US stopped funding UNESCO after it voted to include Palestine as a member in 2011, the State Department has maintained a UNESCO office at its Paris headquarters and sought to weigh in on policy behind the scenes.

Trump would not be the first US President to withdraw support from UNESCO.Trump's predecessor Barack Obama slashed US funding to the organization in 2011 after it voted to accept Palestine as a full member-state.Former president Ronald Reagan quit the organization altogether in the 1980's.

According to the American Foreign Policy news site, the White House is planning to pull out of UNESCO in an attempt to save money and due to the United Nations body's anti-Israel bias. USA envoy to the UN Nikki Haley made the Trump administration's position clear in July following UNESCO's ruling that the Ibrahimi Mosque in the Old City of Hebron is a Palestinian World Heritage Site threatened by Israel.

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A representative of the US delegation to UNESCO referred Reuters to the State Department. The move was announced by Heather Nauert, spokesperson of the state department.

U.S. has stopped funding the UNESCO over issues related to Palestine in 2011.

The decision comes as the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is voting to choose a new director this week, in tense balloting overshadowed by the agency's funding troubles and divisions over Palestinian membership.

Pursuant to Article II (6) of the UNESCO Constitution, U.S. withdrawal will take effect on December 31, 2018.

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