Kerry: ‘I Am Determined to Restore U.S. Funding to (Pro-Palestinian) UNESCO’

The United States was re-elected to the executive board of the U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization’s on Wednesday, despite having withheld funds from the organization for four years. Secretary of State John Kerry reiterated his determination to get Congress to relent and restore funding.


“I am determined to restore U.S. funding to UNESCO, and hopeful that Congress will act to provide the administration the authority needed to waive the current legislative restrictions that prohibit U.S. contributions to the organization,” Kerry said after the vote in Paris.


Wednesday’s election also saw Iran get a seat on the board of UNESCO, whose mission is “building peace in the minds of men and women” through culture, education and science. Two other controversial candidates, Saudi Arabia and Sudan, tied for a seat in their regional group, and will hold a runoff on Friday.


UNESCO’s decision in 2011 to admit “Palestine” as a member – the first U.N. agency to do so – triggered a U.S. funding cutoff in line with a 1990 law barring financial support for “the United Nations or any specialized agency thereof which accords the Palestine Liberation Organization the same standing as member states.”


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