Canada to Reconsider its Support to UNESCO

Canada will reconsider how much support it gives to UNESCO now that it has accepted the PA as a member, Foreign Minister John Baird says.

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Elad Benari,

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird
Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird
Israel news photo: Wikimedia Commons/Andrew Rusk

Canada will reconsider how much support it gives to UNESCO now that it has accepted the Palestinian Authority as a full member, The Canadian Press is reporting.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said on Monday that he is not happy with the UNESCO’s decision and is examining options. He added he appreciates much of the work UNESCO undertakes but is having second thoughts.

“We are not happy with the decision UNESCO has made, and we have to look and see what we should do in response,” Baird was quoted as having said.

He added, “I think UNESCO does important work that our government can support, but we are not happy with this decision, so we are in the midst of looking at our future participation.”

Canada contributes about $10 million Canadian a year to the agency. It was one of 14 nations that voted against the PA’s request in Monday’s vote. Israel, the U.S. and Germany voted against the move as well.

Earlier on Monday, the United States announced that it is cutting off funding to UNESCO.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland announced at a briefing that the administration had no choice in the matter, and would not make its $60 million payment in November to the agency.

Nuland noted that a longstanding law that prohibits U.S. support for any United Nations-affiliated body that accepts Palestinian Authority membership precludes funding the international body.

Meanwhile, it was reported Monday that Israel is considering ending its relationship with UNESCO over the decision to accept the PA as a member.

In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said that Israel was “reconsidering its future cooperation with UNESCO” in the wake of the PA's membership.