USA to Pull Out of UNESCO, Again


He says he has ordered Israeli diplomats to prepare Israel's withdrawal from the organization in concert with the Americans.

Thursday morning, Americans woke up to some news that felt like it was out of left field: The Trump administration was withdrawing the United States from membership in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

"It's a fearless and moral decision", Netanyahu posted on his Facebook page. "This is a courageous and moral decision because UNESCO has become the theatre of the absurd and because instead of preserving history it distorts it".

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gave formal notification of the U.S. withdrawal on the grounds of "continuing anti-Israel bias" and "mounting arrears".

US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the agency need a 'reform, ' while announcing America's withdrawal.

"This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects United States concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO".

The country accused the body of "anti-Israel bias".

The UNESCO withdrawal may be directly linked to US support for Israel, but it is also the latest in a series of pull-backs from multilateralism for US President Donald Trump, who prefers a unilateral approach to foreign affairs. "For us, it is important to have the United States on board, including at UNESCO at this critical juncture", he added. US President Donald Trump's Administration also had no provisions in next year's budget for this goal, The Time wrote.

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As Haley alluded to, the withdrawal is also motivated by U.S. budget concerns.

Outgoing Director-General Irina Bokova expressed "profound regret" at the USA decision and tried to defend UNESCO's reputation.

This seemed unusual because UNESCO is such an inoffensive-seeming organization: Its most prominent function is designating and protecting official worldwide landmarks, called World Heritage Sites - places like The Alamo and the Great Barrier Reef.

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

The Israel controversy re-ignited this summer after UNESCO named Hebron's city center a Palestinian World Heritage Site.

The Obama administration cut off funding to Unesco in 2011 as the group admitted Palestinians as full members, which the USA saw as undercutting its influence in countries around the world, the New York Times reported. This is a loss to the United Nations family.

The agency is in the process of choosing a new leader, with Qatari and French former ministers Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari and Audrey Azoulay neck-and-neck in the contest to replace Ms Bokova.

The resolution also criticised Israel's activities at holy places in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank. It also withdrew under the Reagan administration in 1984, and rejoined in 2002 under President George W. Bush.