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US Rejoins UNESCO, Reversing Trump Withdrawal

The United States, a founding member of UNESCO, was a major contributor to its budget until 2011, when the body admitted Palestine as a member state.


 

The United States rejoined UNESCO on Friday, reversing its withdrawal during the Trump administration, the UN’s cultural agency said.

Donald Trump announced in 2017 that he was pulling the United States out of UNESCO, alongside Israel, accusing the body of bias against the Jewish state, a decision that took effect in 2018.

An extraordinary session of the UN body’s General Assembly voted overwhelmingly for the return of the United States, an AFP reporter present at the vote said, with around 132 members voting in favour, 10 against and 15 abstentions.

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Dissenting voices included Iran, Syria, China and Russia whose delegations appeared to seek to delay the vote through several statements on procedure and suggested amendments.

The United States, a founding member of UNESCO, was a major contributor to its budget until 2011, when the body admitted Palestine as a member state.

That triggered an end to the contributions under US law, leading up to the formal withdrawal announcement six years later.

AFP