US to withdraw from UNESCO over 'anti-Israel bias'

The United States has announced that it will withdraw from the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) at the end of the year, accusing the UN’s cultural organization of “anti-Israel bias.”

US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement on Thursday that Washington would establish an “observer mission” to replace its representation at the Paris-based agency.

“This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects US concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO,” the statement said.

“US withdrawal will take effect on December 31, 2017. The United States will remain a full member of UNESCO until that time,” it added.

UNESCO, which has 195 member states, is known for designating world heritage sites such as Syria’s Palmyra, the Grand Canyon in the US state of Arizona and twenty-two sites in Iran.

The head of…

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