UNESCO chief hopeful that US will restore funding despite Palestine vote

Segment below from France 24 interview of UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova, April 13, 2013. See video at minute 7:50.

France 24: Now let’s talk about UNESCO. As I said earlier, you’re based here in Paris, you rely heavily on the subsidies, on the funds that you get from your members. Following the adoption of Palestine as a member of UNESCO, that was in 2011, the United States stopped funding your organization. This is a terrible blow to UNESCO because the share of the US funding represents more than 20% of your budget. Can you settle this issue?

Bokova: Well, it’s a big blow, as you said, and the situation remains very complex, very difficult. Let me say that we are working with the American administration. It is not a deliberate decision taken by the administration to pull out its funding for UNESCO. There were two laws adopted in the 1990s that ban the administration of financing any organization should Palestine become a full member. So it’s a complicated process there. It’s not that the administration does not share our values. I still hope that they can resolve this issue by the end of this year, because if they don’t, they will lose their right to vote.

France 24: Their voting rights. So the United States would de facto become an observer within your organization.

Bokova: Yeah. Officially they will be members, but they won’t be able to vote.

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