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The United States plans to rejoin UNESCO in July

The United States plans to rejoin UNESCO in July

The U.S. wants to rejoin UNESCO, the U.N. cultural body, in July after five years without membership. UNESCO Secretary-General Audrey Azoulay called the US government’s decision a “strong act” in Paris today.

It is the result of a five-year policy of deterrence, particularly with regard to the Middle East, Azoulay said as he informed 193 UNESCO members of the US decision.

Improving financial situation

For UNESCO, America’s re-entry primarily represents a significant improvement in its financial situation. As early as 2011, the United States stopped its contributions, which had been 22 percent of the UNESCO budget. The background is the dispute over the recognition of Palestine as a full member of the Organization of Culture.

Former US President Donald Trump went a step further and decided to withdraw the US from UNESCO, which came into effect in 2018. French UNESCO president Azoulay declared restoring American membership one of his priorities.

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken justified the decision to return to the U.S. in March, saying UNESCO was currently discussing rules and standards for artificial intelligence. “We have to go back to UNESCO, not to do UNESCO a favour, but the things that are happening there are very important,” he told the US Senate.

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