The United States notified UNESCO, a UN cultural organization, of its withdrawal, the U.S. State announced on October 12.
“This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects US concerns with mounting arrears at Unesco, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at Unesco,” the department said, adding that the United States would seek to “remain engaged … as a non-member observer state in order to contribute U.S. views, perspectives and expertise.”
The decision will come into force on December 31, 2018. The U.S. will remain an observer in the Paris-based cultural, scientific and educational organization.
The head of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has already expressed regret over Washington's step.
She recalled that in 2011, after the suspension of Washington's financial participation in the organization, she said that "UNESCO has never been more important to the United States, and the United States has never been so important to UNESCO."
"This truth has become even more evident today, at a time when the growth of extremism and terrorism calls for new long-term solutions for peace and freedom, in the context of combating racism and anti-Semitism, in combating ignorance and discrimination," she said.
In autumn of 2016, UNESCO adopted a resolution reaffirming the right of the Palestinians to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.
A spokesman for the Paris-based UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said that the agency’s executive board passed the measure by consensus on Tuesday.
Twenty-four countries voted in favor of the UNESCO resolution on October 11, twenty-six states abstained from voting, while six countries - the United States, Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Lithuania and Estonia - opposed the motion.
UNESCO is responsible for coordinating international cooperation in education, science, culture and communication. The organization was established in 1945 with its headquarters in Paris. Almost 200 states are currently members of UNESCO.