US to with­draw from Unesco amid claims of anti-is­rael bias

The Daily Telegraph - - World news - By Har­riet Alexan­der in New York

THE United States is to with­draw from Unesco, the United Na­tions cul­tural agency which Wash­ing­ton has ac­cused of be­ing anti-is­rael. And Is­rael last night fol­lowed suit, an­nounc­ing that it too would quit the 195-na­tion body.

“US tax­pay­ers should no longer be on the hook to pay for poli­cies that are hos­tile to our val­ues and make a mock­ery of jus­tice and com­mon sense,” said Nikki Ha­ley, the Amer­i­can am­bas­sador to the UN.

“The pur­pose of Unesco is a good one. Un­for­tu­nately, its ex­treme politi­ci­sa­tion has be­come a chronic em­bar­rass­ment.”

She said that the de­ci­sion to des­ig­nate the Old City of He­bron and the Tomb of the Pa­tri­archs as part of Pales­tinian ter­ri­tory was “just the lat­est in a long line of fool­ish ac­tions, which in­cludes keep­ing Syr­ian dic­ta­tor Bashar al-as­sad on a hu­man rights com­mit­tee”.

Rex Tiller­son, the US Sec­re­tary of State, in­formed the Paris-based cul­tural her­itage agency of his de­ci­sion yes­ter­day morn­ing. It is the sec­ond time the US has pulled out of the group. Ronald Rea­gan with­drew in 1984 in protest at a per­ceived Soviet bias, and Ge­orge W Bush re­joined in 2002.

Heather Nauert, a spokesman for the state depart­ment, said the de­ci­sion will take ef­fect on Dec 31 next year and that after that point the US will main­tain ob­server sta­tus.

Irina Bokova, the di­rec­tor-gen­eral of Unesco, said she was sad­dened by the move. “I wish to ex­press pro­found re­gret at the de­ci­sion of the United States to with­draw from Unesco,” she said.

The de­ci­sion is seen as mark­ing Amer­ica’s fur­ther es­trange­ment from an or­gan­i­sa­tion that it helped es­tab­lish after the Sec­ond World War.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.