US, Israel to withdraw from UNESCO

(VOVWORLD) -The US has announced it will withdraw from the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The withdrawal will take effect on 31 December 2018. 

The US State Department said on Thursday the decision reflects US concerns about mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform of the organisation, and continuing anti-Israel bias within UNESCO. The Department added that the US will remain engaged as a non-member observer state in order to contribute US views, perspectives, and expertise. A few hours later, Israel declared that it is also withdrawing.
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres express deep regret but said he will continue to interact with the United States very productively on a range of issues through a range of organizations. UNESCO’s outgoing director, Irina Bokova, described the US decision as a “loss to multilateralism.” Russia's foreign ministry said that the move will disrupt a number of important pending projects. France’s ambassador to the UN urged the US to reconsider its decision.

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