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US,Israel lose UNESCO voting right in dispute

US lost voting rights after missing a crucial deadline to repay its debt to the world’s cultural agency.

Written by Associated Press | Paris |
November 9, 2013 1:29:42 am

American influence in culture,science and education around the world took a high-profile blow Friday after the US automatically lost voting rights at UNESCO,after missing a crucial deadline to repay its debt to the world’s cultural agency.

The US hasn’t paid its dues to the Paris-based UN Educational,Scientific and Cultural Organization in protest over the decision by world governments to make Palestine a UNESCO member in 2011. Israel suspended its dues at the same time and also lost voting rights on Friday.

Under UNESCO rules,the US had until Friday morning to resume funding or explain itself,or it automatically loses its vote. A UNESCO official said nothing was received from either the US or Israel.

The suspension of US contributions,which account for $80 million a year — 22 per cent of UNESCO’s overall budget — brought the agency to the brink of a financial crisis and forced it to cut or scale back American-led initiatives such as Holocaust education and tsunami research over the past two years.

Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO,Nimrod Barkan,told The Associated Press that his country supported the Unites States’ decision,“objecting to the politicization of UNESCO,or any international organization,with the accession of a non-existing country like Palestine”.

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