News Worms
News Worms

US Withdraws From UNESCO

US Withdraws From UNESCO

That will allow to United States to remain engaged in debates and activities, though it will lose its right to vote on issues.

"This is pragmatic, not a grander political signal", said John McArthur, a fellow in the Global Economy and Development program at the Brookings Institution and an adviser to the UN Foundation.

In 2011 the United States cut its funding to the agency - slashing its budget by 22 percent - in protest at its decision to grant full membership to the Palestine. The US had previously paid for 22 percent ($80 million) of UNESCO's annual budget.

Yet, the US State Department announced today (Oct. 12) that the United States would withdraw from UNESCO membership.

"The government is committed to continued United Kingdom membership of UNESCO and to working with other member states in support of its important work", A spokesperson of British Prime Minister Theresa May stated.

In a statement, the State Department said the decision will take effect December 31, 2018, and that the USA will seek a "permanent observer" status instead.

On October 12, 2017, the Department of State notified UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova of the US decision to withdraw from the organization and to seek to establish a permanent observer mission to UNESCO.

In recent years, Israel has repeatedly complained about what it says is the body taking sides in disputes over cultural heritage sites in Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories.

In the USA, listed sites include the Statue of Liberty and Independence Hall, as well as national parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite.

It's also why the Palestinians, frustrated with the failure of US-sponsored negotiations to produce a peace agreement, pushed to be recognized as a UNESCO member-state: It was a venue in which they stood a real chance at gaining symbolic statehood status, and thus in theory putting more diplomatic pressure on Israel to sit down and negotiate.

The United States has pulled out of UNESCO before. Other Israeli officials, from both left and right, also praised the decision.

Today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated the United States for its historic decision to pull out of UNESCO and ordered Israel to also withdraw from the organization.

Bokova says that Washington's decision stripped UNESCO of 23 United States cultural heritage sites, along with over 30 natural biosphere reserves.

The State Department wanted to delay its departure until after UNESCO selects a new director general this week.

"It's not just about money, it's promoting ideals that are vital to countries like the United States, such as education and culture", a UNESCO-based diplomat said, warning that others could follow. US President Donald Trump's Administration also had no provisions in next year's budget for this goal, The Time wrote.

The US was a founding member of UNESCO.

UNESCO has designated 11 Cities of Literature around the globe.


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