US pulls out of UNESCO citing bias against Israel, lack of reforms

The Government of the United States of America (U.S.A) has announced that it will withdraw from United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) at the end of 2018.

The arriving at the decision, the spokesman for the State Department, Heather Nauert said in a statement on Thursday the US government cited the need for reform as well as perceived anti-Israel bias by the organization as the reason behind the action..

“On October 12, the Department of State notified UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova of the U.S. decision to withdraw from the organization.

“This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects U.S. concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organisation, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO,” Nauert said.

The spokesperson added that the decision would take effect on December 31, 2018.

The United States will remain a full member of the organization until its withdrawal comes into force, she added.

Nauert said the United States informed Bokova of its desire to remain engaged with the organisation in order to share U.S. perspectives and expertise on issues such as world heritage, press freedom, education and scientific collaboration.

Nauert said the U.S. will seek to establish a permanent observer mission to the United Nations cultural body.

Washington has not paid its UNESCO dues since 2011 to protest against the body’s decision to grant full membership to Palestine.

Prior to its protest, the United States contributed around $80 million annually to the Paris-based UN organisation, which accounted for about 22 per cent of UNESCO’s budget.

Former President Ronald Reagan pulled the United States out of UNESCO in 1983, but the country rejoined the organisation in 2003 under President George W. Bush.

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