United States withdraws from UNESCO

French former culture minister and newly elected head of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay arrives to address a press conference following her election

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

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.

The state department said it would establish an observer mission at the Paris-based organisation to replace its representation.

"This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects U.S. concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organisation, and continuing anti- Israel bias at UNESCO", State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said.

The United States on Thursday announced that it is to withdraw from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and accused the body of "anti-Israel bias".

The withdrawal will take effect on December 31, 2018.

It's unclear in the Trump administration what "world heritage" means, but UNESCO works to help protect areas of cultural significance, like the pyramids of Egypt.

The Obama administration cut off funding to UNESCO in 2011 because the group admitted Palestinians as full members, which the United States saw as undercutting its influence in countries around the world.



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