The United States on Thursday announced it will withdraw from the UNESCO, accusing the UN's cultural body of "anti-Israel" stance.
The withdrawal will take effect on December 31, 2018. The US will remain a full member of UNESCO until that time.
"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," State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said.
She said the Department of State today notified United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organisation Director-General Irina Bokova of the US decision to withdraw from the organisation and to seek to establish a permanent observer mission to UNESCO.
"The US indicated to the Director General its desire to remain engaged with UNESCO as a non-member observer state in order to contribute US views, perspectives and expertise on some of the important issues undertaken by the organisation, including the protection of world heritage, advocating for press freedoms, and promoting scientific collaboration and education," Nauert said.
Paris-based UNESCO, which began work in 1946, is known for designating World Heritage sites.(PTI)