US cuts off UNESCO funding after Palestinian vote
LAST UPDATED: 10/31/2011 20:34
Washington won't make planned $60 million transfer for UN cultural agency, State Department says; FM: Israel should cut ties with PA.
The United States said on Monday it had stopped funding UNESCO,
the UN cultural agency, following its vote to grant the Palestinians
US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland
told reporters the United States had no choice but to halt funding
because of longstanding US law, saying Washington would not make a
planned $60 million transfer that was due in November.
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United States remains steadfast in its support for the establishment of
an independent and sovereign Palestinian state, but such a state can
only be realized through direct negotiations between the Israelis and
the Palestinians," continued Nuland. She condemned the vote as “creating
tensions when all of us should be concerting our efforts to get the
parties back to the table."
In response to the UNESCO decision, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday said that Israel should
consider cutting all ties with the Palestinian Authority.
recommendations will be very clear," the foreign minister explained at
an Israel Beiteinu faction meeting, "We need to weigh cutting all ties
with the Palestinian Authority." He added, "we cannot continue to accept unilateral measures time after time."
Danny Danon (Likud) said in reaction that "UNESCO's decision to hold
this vote today bypasses the Security Council and General Assembly and
is an embarrassment to the United Nations. This agency does not have the
mandate to recognize sovereign states."
"Today I contacted [US]
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and
called on them to act on their earlier statements and immediately halt
all American funding to UNESCO," he added. "The US provides $70 million,
or 22 percent, of UNESCO's annul budget. This financing is supposed to
be used for science and education, not illegitimate unilateral
declarations by the Palestinians."