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13 October, 2017 08:38:17 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 13 October, 2017 10:43:56 AM
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US pulls out of UNESCO over ‘anti-Israel’ bias

AFP
US pulls out of UNESCO over ‘anti-Israel’ bias

The United States yesterday announced that it will withdraw from the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), accusing the body of "anti-Israel bias," reports AFP. Israel has said it will join the US in pulling out of the UN's cultural organisation Unesco, after US officials cited "anti-Israel bias". Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the US decision as "brave and moral", a statement said. US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Washington would establish an "observer mission" to replace its representation at the Paris-based agency.

The United States was angered in 2011 when UNESCO members granted Palestine full membership of the body, despite opposition from its ally Israel. Washington opposes any move by UN  bodies to recognize the Palestinians as a state, believing that this must await a negotiated Middle East peace deal.

But US President Donald Trump's administration is also reviewing many of its multilateral commitments, pursuing what he calls an "America  First" foreign policy. Nauert said the State Department had notified UNESCO’s outgoing Director-General Irina Bokova of their decision earlier Thursday.

“This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects US concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO,” she said in a statement. “The United States indicated to the director-general its desire to remain engaged with UNESCO as a non-member observer state in order to contribute US views, perspectives and expertise on some of the important issues undertaken by the organization, including the protection of world heritage, advocating for press freedoms and promoting scientific collaboration and education.” UNESCO Irina Bokova voiced “profound regret” over a decision by the United States to withdraw from the UN culture and education body which she called a “loss to multilateralism”. 

DG/DG

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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