Palestine Becomes Full Member of UNESCO
By Rizwan Khatik - Mon Oct 31, 1:46 pm
Paris: Palestine has won a first diplomatic victory in its quest for statehood when the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation [UNESCO] executive committee backed its bid to become a member of the cultural body with the rights of a state.
Palestine’s Arab allies braved intense US and French diplomatic pressure to bring the motion before the committee’s member states, which passed it by 40 votes in favour to four – the US, Germany, Romania and Latvia – against it, with 14 abstentions.
The Palestinian bid will now be submitted to the UNESCO general assembly at the end of the month for final approval involving all 193 members based in Paris.
The move was swiftly criticised by the US and Israel. Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, said UNESCO should “think again” about voting on Palestinian admission.
U.S. lawmakers had threatened to withhold some $80 million in funding to UNESCO if it approved Palestinian membership.
Huge cheers went up in UNESCO after delegates voted to approve the membership Monday. One shouted “Long Live Palestine!” in French.
Palestinian officials are seeking full membership in the United Nations, but because that effort is expected to take some time, they separately sought membership at Paris-based UNESCO.