Palestine becomes Unesco member; US upsetNovember 1st, 2011 - 12:53 am ICT by IANS
Paris, Oct 31 (IANS) Palestine Monday became the 195th full-time member of the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco). The White House has termed the admission “premature” and threatened to withdraw funds from UN agency.
In a vote at the 193-member UN agency’s general conference in Paris, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) got 107 votes for its membership bid, with 14 countries against. A total of 52 countries abstained, Xinhua reported citing a Unesco statement.
“Today’s (Monday’s) vote brings the number of Unesco member states to 195,” the UN cultural agency said. South Sudan last week became the 194th member.
The voting made Unesco the first UN agency to accept the PNA as a full member since Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas applied for formal UN membership at the UN General Assembly Sep 23. The Security Council will discuss the matter in November.
Israel and the US have opposed the Palestinian bid both in the UN General Assembly and the Unesco.
The US delegation threatened to withdraw America’s share of funds to the Unesco if the Palestinian admission is accepted. The Israeli envoy made the same remarks ahead of the voting.
According to the New York Times, Unesco gets 22 percent of its annual budget, about $70 million a year, from the US.
Israel’s contribution accounts for around three percent of the UN agency’s annual budget.
Meanwhile, the White House has termed the formal admission of the Palestinian Authority to the Unesco “premature”, claiming that the move will undermine the Middle East peace process.
“Today’s vote at the Unesco to admit the Palestinian Authority as a member is premature and undermines the international community’s shared goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney.
“Today’s vote distracts us from our shared goal of direct negotiations that results in a secure Israel and an independent Palestine living side by side in peace and security,” Carney was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
He reiterated that the US will only support measures that bring the Palestinians and the Israelis closer to direct negotiations, asserting that this is the only way to resolve the differences between the two sides.
The Unesco 36th general conference that opened in Paris Oct 25 will end Nov 10.
- US halts $60 mn contribution to Unesco over Palestine - Nov 01, 2011
- Israel freezes Unesco funding - Nov 03, 2011
- UNESCO grants full membership to Palestine - Oct 31, 2011
- UNESCO raises Palestinian flag at Paris headquarters - Dec 14, 2011
- Palestine's Unesco membership reflects global support: Iran - Nov 02, 2011
- UAE welcomes Palestine's Unesco membership - Nov 01, 2011
- United Arab Emirates congratulates Palestine on UNESCO vote - Nov 02, 2011
- Palestinian membership bid report sent to UNSC - Nov 12, 2011
- Palestine's Unesco membership welcomed in Russia - Nov 01, 2011
- Israel declines to accept Palestine's Unesco membership - Nov 01, 2011
- UNESCO executive council votes for Palestinian membership - Oct 06, 2011
- Palestine applies for UN membership - Sep 24, 2011
- Palestine becomes a member of UNESCO - Oct 31, 2011
- Palestine's Unesco membership may cause financial implications: UN chief - Nov 01, 2011
- Palestinians to apply for UN status despite pressure: Abbas - Sep 08, 2012
Tags: formal admission, independent palestine, lasting peace, leader mahmoud abbas, mahmoud abbas, middle east peace, middle east peace process, new york times, palestinian authority, palestinian leader mahmoud abbas, palestinian national authority, peace in the middle east, pna, south sudan, time member, un agency, un general assembly, unesco member states, white house spokesman, xinhua