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Russian senator links US decision to quit UNESCO with high fees

October 13, 2017, 10:01 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The decision will take effect on December 31, 2018

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MOSCOW, October 13. /TASS/. The US decision to withdraw from UNESCO may be linked to the country’s reluctance to make high membership contributions, Russian senator Vladimir Dzhabarov told TASS on Thursday.

"This was quite an eccentric decision. It is most likely due to the fact that the Americans are unwilling to make high contributions. I think that their intention to work there as observers nevertheless shows that they are interested in working with this organization," said Dzhabarov, the first deputy chairman of the Federation Council’s International Affairs Committee.

According to the senator, this move is the latest in "a series of similar extravagant steps by US President Donald Trump, including [his decision] to quit the [Paris] climate deal."

"We need to wait," he said, adding that the decision will come into force in more than a year, on December 31. "This administration is unpredictable."

Yelena Drapeko, the first deputy chairman of the State Duma’s (lower house of the Russian parliament) culture committee, said, in her turn, that the US move will seriously affect the organization’s work.

"Of course, very tough times are to begin for UNESCO," she said, adding that the organization "carries out enormous and useful work to preserve cultural heritage all over the world."

The US has notified UNESCO that it had decided "to withdraw from the organization and to seek to establish a permanent observer mission to UNESCO," State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement on Thursday.

The decision will take effect on December 31, 2018, and the US will remain a full member of the UN cultural organization until that time.

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