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Trump pulls U.S. out of UNESCO, citing anti-Israel bias

Trump pulls U.S. out of UNESCO, citing anti-Israel bias”

The United States will withdraw from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

A Downing Street spokesman said: "The Government is committed to continued United Kingdom membership of Unesco and to working with other member states in support of its important work".

The US has long used UNESCO as a stage for political gestures: In 1984, the Ronald Reagan withdrew the US from UNESCO, accusing it of being pro-Soviet, anti-Israel, and anti-free market.

The "Department of State notified UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova of the U.S. decision to withdraw from the organization and to seek to establish a permanent observer mission to UNESCO", State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley at the time called the decision an "affront to history" and announced that Washington would evaluate "the appropriate level of its continued engagement at UNESCO".

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The text denounced "all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem".

At the time, Netanyahu said the "absurd" vote denied the Jewish connection to the city.

Behind them in the secret ballot was an Egyptian career diplomat, Moushira Khattab, with 13 votes, and Tang Qian of China with five, according to results posted on Unesco's website.

Travelers are likely to be most familiar with Unesco through its world heritage sites such as the Grand Canyon National Park and Yellowstone National Park in the US.

In 2011, the United States stopped funding Unesco due to what was then a forgotten, 15-year-old amendment mandating a complete cutoff of American financing to any United Nations agency that accepts Palestine as a full member.

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Phạm Sanh Châu, Vietnamese candidate for the director-general position of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), chose to withdraw his name prior to the third round of voting on Wednesday.

America has made a decision to withdraw from Unesco, the United Nations programme responsible for corralling global cooperation on issues such as science and education and designating world heritage sites.

It's not the first time the US has pulled out of UNESCO: Washington did the same thing in the 1980s because it viewed the agency as mismanaged, corrupt and used to advance Soviet interests. "Partnership between UNESCO and the United States was so deep and strong because it was based on shared values", she said.

Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, also praised Washington's move as heralding "a new day at the U.N., where there is a price to pay for discrimination against Israel". The US only rejoined under the administration of President George W. Bush some two decades later.

Hegadorn said the USA would remain a force at the cultural agency in the same way as it was from 1984, when the country withdrew under then-President Ronald Reagan.

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