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Palestine voted into UNESCO

by BuaNews Online
on 02 Nov 2011
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has voted to admit Palestine as a full member of the Paris-based agency.

The Palestinian bid for full membership was approved on Monday by the General Conference of UNESCO, which was convened in Paris, with 107 votes in favour, 14 votes against and 52 abstentions. Palestine thus became UNESCO's 195th member state.

UNESCO is the first UN agency to admit Palestine as a full member after Palestine's failed bid for full UN membership.

"The admission of a new member State is a mark of respect and confidence," UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said following the vote.

"This must be an opportunity to strengthen the organisation and not weaken it, a chance for all to commit once again to the values we share and not to be divided."

Following the vote, the United States, which provides nearly a quarter of UNESCO's budget, announced it would suspend the payment of US$60 million to this organisation as of November.

Asked about the UNESCO decision during a press conference in New York, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that it is up to member states to ensure that the UN system as a whole has consistent political and financial support.

"As such, we will need to work on practical solutions to preserve UNESCO's financial resources," he stated.

He emphasised once again the urgency of a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, stressing that the two-state solution was "long overdue".

For its membership to take effect, Palestine must sign and ratify UNESCO's constitution, which is open for signature in the archives of the Government of the United Kingdom in London.

Admission to UNESCO for States that are not members of the UN requires a recommendation by the agency's Executive Board and a two-thirds majority vote in favour by the General Conference.

UNESCO's mission is to contribute to the building of peace, eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information. - BuaNews

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