The Trump administration announced on Thursday that it would withdraw from Unesco, the United Nations cultural organization, after years of the United States distancing itself because of what it called the group’s “anti-Israel bias.”
The administration also cited mounting arrears at the organization as a reason for the decision.
The move will take effect on December 31, 2018. The United States will remain a full member of UNESCO until that time.
"This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects U.S. concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO, " the U.S. State Department said in a statement.
The country hopes to remain a non-member, observer state, in order to contribute US opinions and expertise on issues like press freedoms and protecting world heritage.
"The United States indicated to the UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova, its desire to remain engaged with UNESCO as a non-member observer state in order to contribute U.S. views, perspectives and expertise on some of the important issues undertaken by the organization, including the protection of world heritage, advocating for press freedoms, and promoting scientific collaboration and education," the statement added.
The UNESCO is UN's cultural and educational agency.
Former President Ronald Regan withdrew the country from UNESCO in 1984, claiming it was biased in favour of the Soviet Union. President George W. Bush rejoined the organisation in 2002, the independent reported.