United States to Pull Out of UNESCO Amid Palestinian Tensions

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UNESCO said the withdrawal was a loss to the "UN family" and to multilateralism.

A native of Bulgaria, Bokova defended UNESCO's reputation, noting its efforts to support Holocaust education and train teachers to fight anti-Semitism. U.S. envoy to the UN Nikki Haley made the Trump administration's position clear in July following UNESCO's ruling that the Ibrahimi Mosque in the Old City of Hebron is a Palestinian World Heritage Site threatened by Israel.

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The United States is planning to formally pull out of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) due to the body's anti-Israel bias and in an attempt to save money, the American Foreign Policy news site reported late Wednesday night.

The decision will come into force on December 31, 2018. The United States suspended its UNESCO funding in 2011 over its vote to include Palestine as a member, and now owes about $550 million in back payments.

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

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.

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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 move was announced by Heather Nauert, spokesperson of the state department.

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