The United States on Thursday announced it will withdraw from the UNESCO, accusing the UN's cultural body of "anti-Israel" stance.
According to the statement by the State Department Spokesperson, Heather Nauert issued on Thursday, "the Department of State notified UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova of the US decision to withdraw from the organization and to seek to establish a permanent observer mission to UNESCO. 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 United States indicated to the Director-General its desire to remain engaged with UNESCO as a non-member observer state in order to contribute US views, perspectives and expertise with UNESCO as a non-member observer state in order to contribute US views, perspectives and expertise on some of the important issues undertaken by the organisation, including the protection of world heritage, advocating for press freedoms, and promoting scientific collaboration and education.
Pursuant to Article II(6) of the UNESCO constitution, US withdrawal will take effect on December 31, 2018. The United States will remain a full member of UNESCO until that time."
Paris-based UNESCO, which began work in 1946, is known for designating World Heritage sites.
Following the United States withdrawal from UNESCO, UNESCO chief took to Twitter to express "profound regret".