U.S. cuts UNESCO funding after Palestinian membership vote
Foreign Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Riyad Al-Malki delivers a speech at UNESCO meeting in Paris
October 31st, 2011
02:01 PM ET

U.S. cuts UNESCO funding after Palestinian membership vote

By National Security Producer Jamie Crawford

The United States is cutting funding to the U.N. education and science agency UNESCO after the agency voted to accept a Palestinian bid for full membership, the U.S. State Department said Monday.

"Today's vote by the member states of UNESCO to admit Palestine as member is regrettable, premature and undermines our shared goal of a comprehensive just and lasing peace in the Middle East.," said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.

"The United States will refrain from making contributions to UNESCO," she said.

The United States was going to make a $60 million payment in November, and will now not do so, she said.

Some U.S. lawmakers had called on the Obama administration to withhold funding to UNESCO if the measure was approved.

The lawmakers cited U.S. law, which states that funds must be denied to any organization granting the Palestine Liberation Organization "the same standing as member states."

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Mission to UNESCO - the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization - said the United States contributes $80 million a year.

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Filed under: Congress • Diplomacy • Israel • Middle East • Palestine • UNESCO
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Don Barbour

    This really diminishes the standing of the US as being even handed with Israel and the Palestinians for a lasting peace with the Arab world. If we favor Palestine as a separate sovereign State, as we do Israel, then we must support their membership in the UN and UNESCO. This action by the US is hypocritical to most other nations and reduces our national standing. We should move to reverse that action immediately.

    October 31, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Reply

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