UNESCO chief regrets Israel withdrawal from UN body
(MENAFN- Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) PARIS, Dec 29 (KUNA) -- UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay deeply regretted a confirmed decision by Israel that it was quitting the UN agency with effect from December 31, 2018.
Azoulay said in a statement that she had been "officially notified" on Friday by the Israeli government of its withdrawal in a year's time.
"I regret this deeply, as it is my conviction that it is inside UNESCO and not outside it that States can best seek to overcome differences in the organisation's fields of competence," the UNESCO chief said.
Israel confirmed in writing earlier today that it would follow the lead of the United States which announced earlier this year that it was leaving UNESCO for allegedly UNESCO taking political positions against US interests.
The US had for several years withheld financing for UNESCO, which meant the budget of the organisation was slashed by 22 percent, but officials at UNESCO said that they had adapted to the new situation.
Israel, for its part, has also withheld its contribution to the budget in protest over a decision by a majority of UNESCO countries to grant Palestine full membership of the cultural, education and science body.
Azoulay added that disputes between nations that are members of the UN body should be resolved better through internal efforts to create "sustained dialogue, cooperation and partnerships" which she said she is committed to promoting.
Israel joined UNESCO in 1949 and has multiple ongoing projects that will be affected by the withdrawal and it has nine cultural sites on the World Heritage List. (end) jk.gb
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