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Russian presidential aide says US withdrawal from UNESCO shocking news

October 12, 19:17 UTC+3 MOSCOW

It is a strange decision and not a very smart one, Russian Presidential Adviser on Cultural Issues Vladimir Tolstoy said

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MOSCOW, October 12. /TASS/. The US withdrawal from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is shocking news, Russian Presidential Adviser on Cultural Issues Vladimir Tolstoy said in response to a question by a TASS correspondent.

"It is shocking news," Tolstoy said. "Definitely, everything needs to be assessed, the United States’ contribution needs to be evaluated. But it is a negative sign, which speaks badly about the US and not about UNESCO. It is a strange decision and not a very smart one," he added.

US withdrawing from UNESCO

Earlier on Thursday, the United States announced its withdrawal from UNESCO. According to a statement issued by US Department of State Spokesperson Heather Nauert, "US withdrawal will take effect on December 31, 2018."

"On October 12, 2017, 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," the statement says. Nauert added that "this decision was not taken lightly."

The organization’s Director-General Irina Bokova expressed "profound regret at the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from UNESCO."

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