US withdrawal unlikely to affect UNESCO seriously: Russian analyst

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/10/13 22:57:36

The US decision to pull out of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is unlikely to seriously affect the agency's operation, a Russian expert told Xinhua Friday.

The United States informed UNESCO on Thursday of its withdrawal on Dec. 31, 2018 as the agency was continuing its "anti-Israel bias." Washington stopped funding the organization after it voted to include Palestine as a member in 2011.

"Over the past six years, the United States has accumulated a significant debt to UNESCO. Therefore, it had either to pay this debt or leave the organization. Washington chose the latter," said Sergei Markov, general director of the Moscow-based Institute for Political Studies.

However, nothing catastrophic happened in these six years when the United States stopped making financial contributions to UNESCO, and the organization continues its activities and remains one of the most effective UN structures, Markov said.

"The official US departure will clearly show to all, to the whole world, that it can survive without the United States. The development of world cooperation in the sphere of culture and education is quite possible without the United States," he said.
UNESCO is an important UN agency, but the United States insists that the agency should listen more to its position and meet its interests, Markov said.

"The United States still considers itself the only center of power and is categorically unwilling to accept even the very idea that the world has become multipolar," he said.

Markov said he does not rule out that some of the countries which are dependent on the United States may attempt to force UNESCO to soften its position on the issue of Palestine and Israel or curtail a number of programs that displease the United States and Israel.

"If UNESCO accepts these demands and starts to curry favor with Washington, it will lead to an increase in US pressure on other UN structures, including its Security Council," he said.

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