US and Israel lose UNESCO voting rights

US and Israel lose UNESCO voting rights
Sat Nov 9, 2013 20:08:58

UNESCO has suspended the voting rights of the United States and Israel, for not paying their dues after Palestine's membership to the organization.

The move came on Friday, two years after the US and Israel suspended paying dues to the UN's cultural arm in protest over its granting full membership to the Palestinians in 2011.

Under UNESCO rules, the US had until Friday morning to resume funding or explain itself, or it automatically loses its vote. A UNESCO official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the issue, said nothing was received from either the US or Israel.

"Nothing was received from the United States," the source said. Two separate diplomatic sources also confirmed the deadline had been missed.

The US decision of not paying UNESCO was blamed on US laws that prohibit funding to any United Nations agency that implies recognition of Palestinian demands for their own state.

There was no immediate comment at the office of the US envoy to the UN agency.

UNESCO designates World Heritage sites, promotes global education and supports press freedom among other tasks.

The loss of voting rights for the key UNESCO member comes as Washington tries to keep US-brokered peace negotiations between Israel and Palestinians afloat.

Both parties have signaled the lack of progress in the talks, revived in July after a three-year hiatus but recently stymied over Israeli plans to continue building Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and East al-Quds.


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