UNESCO pleads with U.S. to reinstate funding

David Killion, center, permanent delegate of the United States to UNESCO, reacts as delegates vote on Palestinian membership to the U.N. cultural agency in Paris Oct. 31, 2011.
AP Photo

PARIS - The head of UNESCO is pleading with the U.S. to reinstate funding cut off after the agency granted membership to Palestine.

Director-General Irina Bokova warned in a statement Wednesday that the move jeopardizes programs "in America's core interests," such as those fostering a free media in nascent Mideast democracies.

U.S. cuts UNESCO funding after Palestinian vote

She said that without U.S. support, "it will be impossible for us to maintain our current level of activity."

On Monday, the members of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization voted to welcome Palestine.

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The United States typically funds about 20 percent of the agency's budget, but American law bars contributions to organizations that grant membership to territories that are not internationally recognized as states.