'US cutting UNESCO funding deals blow to peace talks'

Arab League chief expresses "extreme astonishment" at decision by US to cut UN cultural agency funding following decision to accept PA.

Elaraby 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Elaraby 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby said Tuesday that the US's decision to cut UNESCO funding after the cultural agency approved Palestinian membership will deal a blow to reviving Middle East peace talks, according to statement, AFP reported.
Arabi expressed his "extreme astonishment" at the decision by Washington and said "such an American step gives a negative indication of the possibility of success in the efforts to revive stalled peace talks," the statement quoted him as saying.
NGO: PA doesn't meet UNESCO statehood guidelines
Earlier on Tuesday, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Israel should have been the first country to congratulate the Palestinians on their acceptace to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
Erekat told Army Radio that Israel and the Palestinians "share a land with a common history and culture."
"Yesterday's vote was a victory for humanity, peace and the two-state solution. Israelis should open up their eyes and welcome this," Erekat stated.
The top PA official added that the Palestinians would present their request for statehood recognition to the UN Security Council in 10 days.