US pulls out of Unesco over ‘anti-is­rael bias’


Wash­ing­ton: The United States an­nounced on Thurs­day that it will with­draw from Unesco, the United Na­tion’s cul­tural and ed­u­ca­tional agency, ac­cus­ing the body of “anti-is­rael bias”. State depart­ment spokes­woman Heather Nauert said Wash­ing­ton would es­tab­lish an “ob­server mis­sion” to re­place its rep­re­sen­ta­tion at the Paris-based agency. The US 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 Pales­tine as a state, be­liev­ing that this must await a ne­go­ti­ated Mid­dle East peace deal. AFP fa­mil­iar with the talks. The pro­posal was pre­sented to a small group of ne­go­tia­tors, ac­cord­ing to the peo­ple, who asked not to be iden­ti­fied. The White House de­clined to com­ment on the Nafta talks, and the US Trade Rep­re­sen­ta­tive’s press of­fice didn’t im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

Canada and Mex­ico re­jected the idea of a sun­set clause af­ter com­merce sec­re­tary Wil­bur Ross floated the idea last month, say­ing it would in­ject so much un­cer­tainty for busi­nesses that it could hurt long-term in­vest­ment. The idea of a sun­set clause has been among the most con­tentious pro­pos­als for a pact that al­ready has a rel­a­tively straight-for­ward exit pro­vi­sion—a coun­try can leave af­ter giv­ing six-months’ no­tice of with­drawal. BLOOMBERG want their re­gion to re­main in Spain marked the coun­try’s na­tional day on Thurs­day, march­ing through Barcelona waving both Spanish and Cata­lan flags and shout­ing “I am Spanish”, as the re­gion’s threats of in­de­pen­dence have left the coun­try in cri­sis.

Mean­while, in the na­tional cap­i­tal Madrid, troops and po­lice pa­raded in front of King Felipe VI, ac­com­pa­nied by na­tional and re­gional politi­cians. In Barcelona, Cat­alo­nia’s cap­i­tal, a crowd of peo­ple that lo­cal po­lice said num­bered 65,000 marched to a cen­tral square, some with their faces in the red and yel­low colours of both the Spanish and Cata­lan flags and shout­ing “Viva Es­pana” — “Long live Spain”.

Cata­lan re­gional Pres­i­dent Car­les Puigde­mont an­nounced on Tues­day that he was pro­ceed­ing with a dec­la­ra­tion of Cata­lan in­de­pen­dence, but pro­posed freez­ing its im­ple­men­ta­tion for a few weeks to al­low for di­a­logue and me­di­a­tion with the na­tional govern­ment in Madrid.


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