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U.S. pulls out of United Nations cultural organization

12 October 2017

The US is reported to be on the verge of withdrawing from UNESCO, after accusing the institution of anti-Israel bias, Foreign Policy reported today.

According to AFP, State Department spokeswoman, Heather Nauert said Washington would establish an "observer mission" to replace its representation at the Paris-based agency.

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.

According to the American Foreign Policy news site, the White House is planning to pull out of UNESCO in an attempt to save money and due to the United Nations body's anti-Israel bias.

UNESCO is best known for its World Heritage program to protect cultural sites and traditions around the world.

It says the withdrawal will take effect December 31, 2018. The U.S. will seek to have a "permanent observer" status instead.

The US stopped financing UNESCO after the organization moved to admit the Palestinian Authority as a member in 2011.

The Foreign Policy report stated that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made the decision about withdrawing from the United Nations body a few weeks ago.

Earlier, Washington officials told AP that the United States is withdrawing from UNESCO after repeated criticism of resolutions that the Trump administration perceived as anti-Israeli. UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation is going to vote this week to choose a new director.

U.S. pulls out of United Nations cultural organization