UNESCO director regrets USA plan to leave agency

UNESCO director regrets USA plan to leave agency

The withdrawal, which could be announced as early as next week, comes after many months of the United States condemning numerous rulings by the United Nations body which have favoured Palestinian claims to sites in the Israeli-occupied territories.

The agency is known for designating world heritage sites such as Syria's Palmyra and the US Grand Canyon. She said the USA and UNESCO matter to each other more than ever now because "the rise of violent extremism and terrorism calls for new long-term responses for peace and security".

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

The US is reported to be on the verge of withdrawing from UNESCO, after accusing the institution of anti-Israel bias, Foreign Policy reported today.


UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova said she received official notification from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, adding she expressed "profound regret at the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from UNESCO".

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. The U.S. will remain an observer in the Paris-based cultural, scientific and educational organization. The move was announced by Heather Nauert, spokesperson of the state department.

The US had stopped funding UNESCO after it voted to include Palestine as a member in 2011 but it did maintain a UNESCO office.

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