Washington, Oct 12: The US on Thursday said it is pulling out of the UN’s cultural organisation Unesco, accusing it of an “anti-Israel” bias.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement that the US would be pulling out of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation by the end of the year.
“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,” Nauert said.
The State Department said it plans to “remain engaged” with the organisation as a non-member.
The Department said it would establish an observer mission at the Paris-based organisation to replace its representation.
Unesco said the withdrawal was a loss to the “UN family” and to multilateralism.
The agency is known for designating world heritage sites such as Syria’s Palmyra and the US Grand Canyon.
This isn’t the first time the US has pulled out of Unesco. Former President Ronald Reagan withdrew the US from the organisation in 1984, and former President George W. Bush rejoined the cultural group in 2002.