Home International US withdraws from UNESCO accusing the cultural body of ‘anti-Israel bias’

US withdraws from UNESCO accusing the cultural body of ‘anti-Israel bias’

Kumbh Mela

The United States announced today that it will withdraw from the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, accusing the body of anti-Israel bias.

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

UNESCO head Irina Bokova has regretted the US decision, and called it a loss to multilateralism.

While the US stopped funding UNESCO after the international body 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.

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

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