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US loses UNESCO voting rights
November 8, 2013, 11:03 am

[Getty Images]

The Sydney Opera House in Australia is a UNESCO World Heritage site [Getty Images]

The United States has lost its voting rights at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) after it missed a crucial deadline to repay its debt to the world’s cultural agency.

The US will now no longer participate in financial decisions of the UNESCO.

In protest over a decision by world governments to make Palestine a UNESCO member in 2011, the US stopped paying its dues to the agency.

UNESCO stipulated that the US had to pay arrears or provide an explanation for its arrears by Friday morning.

Funding from the country accounts for 22 per cent of UNESCO’s annual budget.

US President Bill Clinton had signed the 1994 foreign aid bill that put an end to US funding of any international institution that might accept the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) as a member.

The world body granted full membership to Palestine in 2011.

UNESCO’s world heritage sites provide great economic impetus to host nations and cities.

Source: Agencies