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Andrey Kortunov

Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council, RIAC member

The United States has always criticized UNESCO. And there were two lines of reasoning. One of them was connected with Israel and with the attitude of UNESCO to Palestine. They have an opinion that the organization takes the anti-Israeli stance that does not meet the U.S. interests. The second line of argumentation was that UNESCO is a very expensive and inefficient organization with huge administrative costs and lowering effectiveness.

The U.S. withdrawal from UNESCO was striking and seriously shocking for the organization. They'll have to sequester the budget. I think that this will affect both the staff of the organization and the projects that this organization is implementing. I think that opportunities for saving or replacing the American contribution will now be sought for.

Andrey Kortunov commented on the U.S. decision to withdraw from UNESCO. The decision will come into force on December 31, 2018. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said that Washington’s move is related to the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing «anti-Israel bias» at UNESCO.

The United States has always criticized UNESCO. And there were two lines of reasoning. One of them was connected with Israel and with the attitude of UNESCO to Palestine. They have an opinion that the organization takes the anti-Israeli stance that does not meet the U.S. interests. The second line of argumentation was that UNESCO is a very expensive and inefficient organization with huge administrative costs and lowering effectiveness.

The U.S. withdrawal from UNESCO was striking and seriously shocking for the organization. They'll have to sequester the budget. I think that this will affect both the staff of the organization and the projects that this organization is implementing. I think that opportunities for saving or replacing the American contribution will now be sought for.

There is also a symbolic meaning in the U.S. actions. The United States has been attacking UNESCO for decades, but none of the previous administrations dared to withdraw from the organization. As it is a scandal, of course, with some damage to the reputation, and being immediately subject to criticism from all sides, becoming the object of various attacks. And if the United States did make such a decision, they crossed a certain line.

There are other international organizations, whose activity is dissatisfying for the U.S. being a member. So there are challenges ahead, at least for some international organizations the issue will be very tough. They will either have to change activity and adapt to American demands, or risk to stay without American money.

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