United States pulls out of UNESCO

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UNESCO is a specialized agency in the United Nations that encourages global peace and security through education, science, culture and communication.

"This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects USA concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organisation, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO", she said in a statement.

The withdraw becomes official on December 31, 2018, after which the United States will remain involved as a nonmember observer state. Unesco was dependent on the United States for 22 percent of its budget, then about $70 million a year. It's best known for its World Heritage list.

Israel has been irked by resolutions that diminish its historical connection to the Holy Land and have instead named ancient Jewish sites as Palestinian heritage sites.

The UN General Assembly President Miroslav Lajčák is also "concerned that the decision by the United States to withdraw could have adverse impacts upon the important work of UNESCO", according to a statement from his spokesperson.

Bokova spelled out her belief that the American people support UNESCO's actions to harness new learning technologies; enhance scientific cooperation, for ocean sustainability; promote freedom of expression, defend journalists' safety; empower girls and women as change-makers and peacebuilders; bolster societies facing emergencies, disasters and conflicts; and advance literacy and quality education.

Leaving UNESCO might seem like typical Trump isolationism, but the U.S.'s beef with the organization goes back to previous administrations.

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The US stopped paying dues to the worldwide body in late 2011 after the agency voted to accept a Palestinian bid for full membership and now owes approximately $550 million, a State Department spokesperson said.

Nikki Haley, the U.N. ambassador, has repeatedly criticized the United Nations for what she called its anti-Israel bias.

US officials said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made the decision and it was not discussed with other countries.

Many saw the vote to include Palestine as evidence of long-running, ingrained anti-Israel bias within the United Nations, where Israel and its allies are far outnumbered by Arab countries and their supporters. "Ideally, it steers it in way that US interests and UNESCO's mandate will converge".

Việt Nam's bid for the leading position of a respectable global organisation such as UNESCO has made evident its commitment to actively contribute to the worldwide community.

Mr Netanyahu condemned the agency this year for declaring the old city of Hebron in the West Bank a Palestinian World Heritage site.

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