Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   21 September

Netanyahu orders Foreign Ministry to prepare Israel’s withdrawal from UNESCO following US decision to abandon it

YEREVAN, OCTOBER 12, ARMENPRESS. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has handed instructions to the Foreign Ministry to make preparations for the country’s withdrawal from United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) together with the US, ARMENPRESS reports, citing TASS, Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.

"Netanyahu has given instructions to the Foreign Ministry to prepare to pull out of UNESCO together with the US," the statement reads.

Earlier on Thursday, the United States announced its withdrawal from UNESCO. According to a statement issued by US Department of State Spokesperson Heather Nauert, "US withdrawal will take effect on December 31, 2018." "On October 12, 2017, the Department of State notified UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova of the US decision to withdraw from the organization and to seek to establish a permanent observer mission to UNESCO," the statement says.

According to the Foreign Policy magazine, the US has decided to pull out of UNESCO "to save money and protest what it views as the organization’s anti-Israel bias." The magazine added that in 2011, "the United States cut off more than $80 million a year, about 22% of its entire budget for UNESCO, in reprisal for the organization’s acceptance of Palestine as a member."

The organization’s Director-General Irina Bokova expressed "profound regret at the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from UNESCO."

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