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US withdraws from UNESCO

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks during an appearance in Washington, DC
  • US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks during an appearance in Washington, DC
  • EFE

The United States has withdrawn from Unesco over what it claims is the organisation's "continuing anti-Israel bias".

The State Department announced its intention to withdraw from the UN's cultural, scientific and educational organisation and become a permanent observer instead.

"This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects US concerns with mounting arrears at Unesco, the need for fundamental reform in the organisation, and continuing anti-Israel bias at Unesco," the State Department said in a statement.

The country hopes to remain a non-member, observer state, in order to contribute US opinions and expertise on issues like press freedoms and protecting world heritage, according to the Department. The decision will take effect at the end of 2018.

The US helped found Unesco in the wake of the Second World War, with the aim of ensuring peace through the free flow of ideas and education. The country's withdrawal marks yet another move by the Trump administration to distance itself from global organisations.

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