WORLD

U.S. to withdraw from UNESCO for anti-Israel bias

U.S. TO WITHDRAW FROM UNESCO FOR ANTI-ISRAEL BIAS

White House says that it will withdrew from the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organization by put forwarding that the body has anti-Israel bias.

The United States announced Thursday that it is to withdraw from the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organization, accusing the body of "anti-Israel bias", and underlining need for "fundamental reform" of the U.N. cultural agency.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Washington would establish an "observer mission" to replace its representation at the Paris-based agency.

The United States is withdrawing from UNESCO, the United Nation's cultural and educational agency, effective Dec. 31, the U.S. State Department said in a statement on Thursday.

"This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects U.S. concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO," the department said, adding that the United States would seek to "remain engaged ...as a non-member observer state in order to contribute U.S. views, perspectives and expertise."

U.S. officials said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made the decision and that it was not discussed with other countries but an internal U.S. government deliberation.

The officials, who were not authorized to be publicly named discussing the issue, said U.S. is notably angry over UNESCO resolutions denying Jewish connections to holy sites and references to Israel as an occupying power.

UNESCO was formed after World War II, aimed at improving the flow of information across cultures, and is known across the globe for its World Heritage program.

UNESCO SAYS IT REGRETS U.S. DECISION TO LEAVE ITS ORGANISATION
UNESCO, the cultural and educational agency of the United Nations, expressed regret on Thursday over the United States' official decision to leave its organisation.

"After receiving official notification by the United States Secretary of State, Mr Rex Tillerson, as UNESCO Director-General, I wish to express profound regret at the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from UNESCO," said UNESCO director general Irina Bokova in a statement.

Bokova added that the U.S. decision marked a loss for multilateralism and for the UN family.

The United States had cancelled its substantial budget contribution to UNESCO in 2011 in protest at a decision to grant the Palestinians full membership.

Contact Us