Paris, October 13: US and its ally Israel have pulled out of the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization) over its 'anti-Israel bias'. The US stated that the move was made on the back of 'need for fundamental reforms at the UNESCO'.
State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement that the decision was based on concerns about arrears, the need for reform and what she said was a "continuing anti-Israel bias".
Bokova said the UNESCO needed United States, a founding member, on board to fulfill its wide mandate from promoting education to eradicating poverty.
"If we are this large platform for intercultural dialogue, for human rights, for freedom of expression, for safety of journalists, of working all across the board, for eradicating poverty, for fighting obscurantism, for fighting for literacy and against ignorance, I think we need everybody on board, and particularly of course the United States who are a founding member and one of our most important supporters in all of these endeavours," she said.
US Department of State spokesperson Alan Romberg informed, "The decision to withdraw was made by Resident Reagan on a recommendation of the Secretary of State. The recommendation was based upon our experience that UNESCO has extraneously politicised virtually every subject it deals with, has exhibited hostility towards the basic institutions of a free society especially a free market and a free press and has demonstrated unrestrained budgetary expansion."
The withdrawal of the United States, which provides a fifth of UNESCO's funding, is a severe blow for the Paris-based organisation which began work in 1946 and is known for designating World Heritage sites such as the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria, the religious shrines in Timbuktu and the Grand Canyon National Park.
The organisation, which employs around 2,000 people worldwide, most of them based in Paris, has long been the object of criticism over its use of resources and resolutions that have been perceived by Israel and other countries as biased.
UNESCO is in the process of selecting a new leader, whose priority will be to revive its fortunes. Earlier in 1984, the US had walked out of the UNESCO citing anti-US bias, before President George Bush brought the nation back to the UN body in 2002.