Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
World | By Melba Underwood

US Announces Withdrawal from UNESCO, Accusing UN Agency of "Anti-Israel" Bias

US Announces Withdrawal from UNESCO, Accusing UN Agency of

Washington intends to participate in the fulfillment by UNESCO of a number of its functions, including the protection of the world cultural heritage, the protection of press freedom, the promotion of scientific cooperation and the educational process.

The agency's board members are set to vote this week to elect a new director-general, with Arab candidates from Qatar and Egypt vying with a French competitor.

Today the Trump administration announced the United States will leave UNESCO, the United Nations development agency, over the organization's alleged "anti-Israel bias".

Israel says it will join the United States in pulling out of the UN's cultural organisation after USA officials cited "anti-Israel bias".

The decision will come into force on December 31, 2018.

The text denounced "all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem". UNESCO has 195 member states and ten associate members.Most of its field offices are "cluster" offices covering three or more countries; national and regional offices also exist.

"At the time when the fight against violent extremism calls for renewed investment in education, in dialogue among cultures to prevent hatred, it is deeply regrettable that the United States should withdraw from the United Nations agency leading these issues", Bokova said in the statement.

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It will establish an observer mission at the Paris-based organisation to replace its representation, the state department said. This is a loss to the United Nations family. Just hours after that vote, the US chose to cut its payments to UNESCO, while still maintaining its membership.

She paid tribute to what she said had been a meaningful relationship between UNESCO and the U.S., saying: "since 2011, we have deepened the partnership between the United States and UNESCO, which has never been so meaningful".

Hours later, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would quit too, calling the US decision "brave and moral". UNESCO and most of the U.N.is hopefully corrupted. In the US, listed sites include the Statue of Liberty and Independence Hall, as well as national parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite.

Behind them in the secret ballot was an Egyptian career diplomat, Moushira Khattab, with 13 votes, and Tang Qian of China with five, according to results posted on Unesco's website.

It is likely that this is an attempt to get UNESCO to reform itself so that the USA does not need to follow through on the withdrawal. It wasn't until 18 years later that it rejoined under the administration of George W. Bush.

United Nations Secretary General António Guterres expressed deep regret over the U.S. decision to leave UNESCO, according to Deputy UN Spokesperson Farhan Haq. "Ideally, it steers it in way that USA interests and UNESCO's mandate will converge".

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