Thursday, 18 January, 2018

US Plans To Withdraw From 'Anti-Israel' UNESCO

UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova of Bulgaria UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova of Bulgaria
Bennie Garza | 12 October, 2017, 18:46

United States has officially pulled out of UNESCO citing the growing influence in support of Palestine and its anti-Israel stance.

The director of UNESCO is expressing "profound regret" at the USA government's decision to pull out of the United Nations cultural agency because of what's seen as longstanding anti-Israel bias.

Washington will remain in the organization "as a non-member observer state in order to contribute U.S. views, perspectives and expertise", the statement said.

A representative of the USA delegation to UNESCO referred Reuters to the State Department. U.S. 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.

UNESCO said the withdrawal was a loss to the "UN family" and to multilateralism.

Bokova's two terms as director have been deeply scarred by the 2011 UNESCO vote to include Palestine as a member, funding troubles and repeated resolutions seen as anti-Israel. The U.S. will seek to have a "permanent observer" status instead. The move is to take effect on December 31, Washington announced.

The Foreign Policy report stated that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made the decision about withdrawing from the United Nations body a few weeks ago.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made the decision several weeks ago, and told French President Emmanuel Macron Washington was considering leaving during a meeting with President Donald Trump in late September on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.

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