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US withdrawal from UNESCO price to pay for discrimination against Israel — UN ambassador

October 12, 20:58 UTC+3 UNITED NATIONS

According to the diplomat, "UNESCO has become a battlefield for Israel bashing and has disregarded its true role and purpose"

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UNITED NATIONS, October 12. /TASS/. The US withdrawal from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a price to pay for discrimination against Israel, the country’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon said commenting on Washington’s decision.

According to Danon, "UNESCO has become a battlefield for Israel bashing and has disregarded its true role and purpose." "Today’s decision is a turning point for UNESCO. The organization’s absurd and shameful resolutions against Israel have consequences. Today is a new day at the UN, where there is price to pay for discrimination against Israel," the ambassador added.

He thanked the United States for supporting Israel saying that Washington was "a true leader for change at the UN." "The alliance between our two countries is stronger than ever," Danon stressed.

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." According to the Foreign Policy magazine, the US has decided to pull out of UNESCO "to save money and protest what it views as the organization’s anti-Israel bias." The magazine added that in 2011, "the United States cut off more than $80 million a year, about 22% of its entire budget for UNESCO, in reprisal for the organization’s acceptance of Palestine as a member."

While commenting on Washington’s move, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that though "the purpose of UNESCO is a good one" but "its extreme politicization has become a chronic embarrassment." She added that "the Tomb of the Patriarchs decision was just the latest in a long line of foolish actions, which includes keeping Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad on a UNESCO human rights committee even after his murderous crackdown on peaceful protestors." "Just as we said in 1984 when President Reagan withdrew from UNESCO, US taxpayers should no longer be on the hook to pay for policies that are hostile to our values and make a mockery of justice and common sense," Haley noted.

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres deeply regrets the US withdrawal from UNESCO, Deputy Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General Farhan Haq told TASS.

Apart from UNESCO, a number of Western countries, including the United Kingdom and France, reacted negatively to the US decision.

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