The United States cut-off funding to UNESCO, the United Nation's cultural arm, after UNESCO defied the White House by voting overwhelmingly to accept the Palestinian Authority as a full UN member. The US State Department announced a halt to funding of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation just hours after it became the first UN body effectively to grant the right of statehood to the Palestinian people. Despite United States' threat of a financial boycott, just 14 states voted against Palestinian membership, with 107 backing the bid, easily clearing the two-thirds majority needed for the Palestinian Authority to become a member of any UN body for the first time.
The United States said on Monday it had stopped funding UNESCO following its vote to grant the Palestinians full membership, throwing the future of UNESCO into doubt. US
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters the United States had no choice but to halt funding because of U.S. laws passed in the 1990s, saying Washington would not make a planned $60 million transfer that was due in November.
"The United States ... remains strongly committed to robust, multilateral engagement across the U.N. system. However, Palestinian membership as a state in UNESCO triggers long-standing legislative restrictions which will compel the United States to refrain from making contributions to UNESCO," Nuland said.
Nuland also said the vote Monday by the member states of UNESCO to admit Palestine as a member was "regrettable, premature and undermines our shared goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East."
The United States provides 22 percent of the funding of the United Nations Economic, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
That agency decided on Monday to give the Palestinians full membership, a vote that will boost their bid at the United Nations for recognition as a state.
UNESCO is the first U.N. agency the Palestinians have joined as a full member since President Mahmoud Abbas applied for full membership of the United Nations on September 23.
The United States and its ally Israel oppose the Palestinian diplomatic foray in the U.N. system, describing it as an attempt to bypass the two-decade old peace process. Washington says only a resumption of peace talks ending in a treaty with Israel can bring about the Palestinian goal of statehood.
Earlier Monday, Republican U.S. lawmakers demanded the funding cutoff, and the White House as well as other officials across the U.S. political spectrum criticized UNESCO's action.
"I expect the administration to enforce existing law and stop contributions to UNESCO and any other U.N. agency that enables the Palestinians to short-cut the peace process," said Representative Kay Granger, the Republican chairwoman of the House committee in charge of foreign aid.
Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said the UNESCO move was "no substitute for negotiations, but it is deeply damaging to UNESCO."
The laws passed in the 1990s prohibit U.S. funding to any U.N. organization that grants full membership to any group that does not have the "internationally recognized attributes" of statehood.
The language was intended to pre-emotively block normalization of Palestinian relations and activities in the international community, said Lara Friedman, policy director at Americans for Peace Now, an American Jewish group.
The American Jewish group J Street called on Congress to amend U.S. law to preserve American contributions to UNESCO, saying without U.S. support, the group's work in development and expanding educational opportunities around the globe would be at risk.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told U.S. lawmakers earlier this month that the U.S. government should have the flexibility to decide whether to cut off money for such agencies if they take in the Palestinians.__._,_.___Messages in this topic (14)To Subscribe to kenyaonline, visit: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kenyaonline/join
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Monday, October 31, 2011
USA Africa Dialogue Series - World defies US Over Palestinian Vote and US Cuts funding....
Is this dictatorship or economic tyranny? Hehehehehe.
In a message dated 10/31/2011 4:27:47 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, firstname.lastname@example.org writes: