US withdraws from Unesco

US withdraws from Unesco

The United States has withdrawn from Unesco over what it claims is the organisation's "continuing anti-Israel bias".

The State Department announced its intention to withdraw from the UN's cultural, scientific and educational organisation and become a permanent observer instead.

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

The country hopes to remain a non-member, observer state, in order to contribute US opinions and expertise on issues like press freedoms and protecting world heritage, according to the Department.

The US has withdrawn from the organisation once before, during the Reagan administration. Former President Ronald Regan withdrew the country from Unesco in 1984, claiming it was biased in favour of the Soviet Union. President George W Bush rejoined the organisation in 2002. The US stopped funding Unesco in 2011, after the organisation accepted Palestine as a member, the Guardian reported.

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