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United States Pulls Out Of UNESCO, Accuses World Body Of "Anti-Israel" Bias

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| } October 12 , 2017 , 20:00 IST

In a huge decision, the United States, on Thursday decided to pull out of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), accusing it of "anti-Israel" bias against the country.

In a statement, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said that the US would be pulling out of the United Nations' cultural organisation by the end of this year.

Nauert said, "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."

The State Department said it plans to "remain engaged" with the organisation as a non-member.

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The Department said it would establish an observer mission at the Paris-based organisation to replace its representation.

Unesco said the withdrawal was a loss to the "UN family" and to multilateralism.

The agency is known for designating world heritage sites such as Syria's Palmyra and the US Grand Canyon. 

This isn't the first time the US has pulled out of Unesco. Former President Ronald Reagan withdrew the US from the organisation in 1984, and former President George W. Bush rejoined the cultural group in 2002.

-With Agency Inputs