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UNESCO regrets US decision to withdraw from organization

October 12, 2017, 17:08 UTC+3 PARIS

The United States has decided to quit the UN cultural agency

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PARIS, October 12. /TASS/. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) regrets the United States’ decision to withdraw from the organization, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said in a statement.

"After receiving official notification by the United States Secretary of State, Mr Rex Tillerson, as UNESCO Director-General, I wish to express profound regret at the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from UNESCO," Bokova’s statement reads. She pointed out that "the partnership between UNESCO and the United States has been deep, because it has drawn on shared values."

"In 2011, when payment of membership contributions was suspended at the 36th session of the UNESCO General Conference, I said I was convinced UNESCO had never mattered as much for the United States, or the United States for UNESCO," Bokova noted. "This is all the more true today, when the rise of violent extremism and terrorism calls for new long-term responses for peace and security, to counter racism and antisemitism, to fight ignorance and discrimination," she added.

At the same time, according to the UNESCO Director-General, "despite the withholding of funding, since 2011, we have deepened the partnership between the United States and UNESCO, which has never been so meaningful." She pointed out that "the partnership between UNESCO and the United States has been deep, because it has drawn on shared values."

"Universality is critical to UNESCO’s mission to strengthen international peace and security in the face of hatred and violence, to defend human rights and dignity," Bokova said.

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 noted that "this decision was not taken lightly.".

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