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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