US with­draws from UNESCO cit­ing anti-Is­rael bias

The New Indian Express - - NEWS - AFP

Wash­ing­ton: The United States an­nounced on Thurs­day it was with­draw­ing from UNESCO, the UN’s cul­tural and ed­u­ca­tional agency, com­plain­ing about how it is run and about what Wash­ing­ton de­scribed as bias against Is­rael.

THE United States and Is­rael an­nounced on Thurs­day that they will with­draw from the United Na­tions Sci­en­tific and Cul­tural Or­ga­ni­za­tion( UNESCO ), ac­cus­ing the body of an “anti-Is­rael bias.”

US State Depart­ment spokes­woman Heather Nauert said that 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 and had can­celled its bud­get con­tri­bu­tions to the United na­tions ed­u­car­tion and cul­tural body.

United States 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 Di­rec­tor­Gen­eral Irina Bokova of their de­ci­sion ear­lier Thurs­day.

“This de­ci­sion was not taken lightly, and re­flects the

United States’s 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.

Sub­se­quently, Is­rael Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu said Is­rael will with­draw from the UN’s cul­tural and ed­u­ca­tion body af­ter the United States de­ci­sion to do the same.

“The Prime Min­is­ter in­structed the for­eign min­istry to pre­pare Is­rael’s with­drawal from the or­gan­i­sa­tion along­side the United States,” Ne­tanyahu’s of­fice said in a state­ment.

Ne­tanyahu wel­comed the de­ci­sion by Pres­i­dent Trump and said, “This is a coura­geous and moral de­ci­sion be­cause UNESCO has be­come the the­atre of the ab­surd and in­stead of pre­serv­ing his­tory it dis­torts it.”

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