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USA to withdraw from UNESCO due to anti-Israel bias

12 October 2017

The United States has chose to pull out of UNESCO, after repeated criticism of resolutions by the U.N. cultural agency that the Trump administration sees as anti-Israel.

There has been no immediate comment from the United States government.

According to the report, the move, which is expected to be announced as early as next week, would allow the USA to remain as an observer state in the organization that it helped establish after World War II.

She recalled that in 2011, after the suspension of Washington's financial participation in the organization, she said that "UNESCO has never been more important to the United States, and the United States has never been so important to UNESCO".

"This decision was not taken lightly", according to a State Department statement on Thursday.

The agency is known for designating world heritage sites such as Syria's Palmyra and the US Grand Canyon.

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It is not the first time the USA has withdrawn.

The decision will come into force on December 31, 2018.

A plan to withdraw from the global body was reportedly made several weeks ago, with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson informing French President Emmanuel Macron of America's imminent departure. The withdrawal was confirmed Thursday by USA officials speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to be publicly named discussing the decision.

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.

The decision comes as the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is voting to choose a new director this week, in tense balloting overshadowed by the agency's funding troubles and divisions over Palestinian membership.

USA to withdraw from UNESCO due to anti-Israel bias