(Source: www.channelnewsasia.com)

WASHINGTON: The United States is withdrawing from UNESCO, the United Nation’s cultural and educational agency, effective Dec 31, the US State Department said in a statement on Thursday (Oct 12).

“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 department said, adding that the United States would seek to “remain engaged … as a non-member observer state in order to contribute US views, perspectives and expertise.”

The head of UNESCO Irina Bokova voiced “profound regret” on Thursday over the decision and called it a “loss to multilateralism”.

“I wish to express profound regret at the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from UNESCO,” Bokova said in a statement.

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