PARIS - The cut in US funding of UNESCO following its granting of full membership to Palestinians would compromise programs including Holocaust education and a tsunami warning system, the head of the UN cultural agency said on Wednesday.
The United States said on Monday it would not transfer a planned $60 million in funds in protest over the vote by member states of UNESCO to admit the Palestinians.
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova called the United States, which supplies 22 percent of its funding, a "critical partner" in the work of the agency, which promotes global education and press freedom among other tasks.
"The announced withholding of US dues owed for 2011 will immediately affect our ability to deliver programs in critical areas: achieving universal education, supporting new democracies and fighting extremism," wrote Bokova in a statement.
Saying UNESCO's work was in America's "core interests" Bokova said US funding helped the agency develop a free press in north African countries like Tunisia and Egypt, undertake Holocaust education and expand a tsunami warning system.