US regrets loss of voting rights in UNESCO, blames Congress
The Obama Administration has put the blame of losing UNESCO voting rights over Congress
“We regret that today the US lost its vote in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) General Conference as a result of legislative restrictions that have precluded payment of US dues to UNESCO,” the State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said.
The United States and Israel lost their UNESCO voting rights yesterday after suspending funding to the organization for its recognition of Palestine in 2011.
US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said the America losing its vote is a result of legislative restrictions that prohibit the US from paying its dues.
“While these restrictions are motivated by concerns that we share, the loss of the United States’ vote in UNESCO diminishes our influence within an organization that is looked to around the world for leadership on issues of importance to our country, including the rights of women and girls, Internet governance, freedom of the press, and the recognition and protection of cultural heritage,” she said.
“The Obama Administration has called upon Congress to approve legislative changes that would allow needed flexibility in the application of these statutory restrictions,” Power said.
“We note a loss of vote in the General Conference is not a loss of US membership. The United States intends to continue its engagement with UNESCO in every possible way,” Psaki said.
She said UNESCO directly advances US interests in supporting women education, facilitating important scientific research, promoting tolerance, protecting and preserving the world’s natural and cultural heritage, supporting freedom of the press, and much more.
“It is in that vein that President Obama has requested legislative authority to allow the United States to continue to pay its dues to UN agencies that admit the Palestinians as a member state when doing so is in the US national interest.
“Although that proposal has not yet been enacted by Congress, the President remains committed to that goal,” Psaki said.