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Canada will not make up UNESCO shortfall, minister says

JTA

November 2, 2011 | 12:01 pm

Canada’s foreign affairs minister said his country would continue paying dues to UNESCO but would not offer the agency any additional money.

John Baird said Wednesday that his government would not offer any additional voluntary payments to help offset the shortfall after the United States withdrew its funding over the U.N. cultural agency’s vote to extend full membership to the Palestinians.

Canada gives nearly $12 million annually to UNESCO. It voted against the motion.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization approved the Palestinians’ bid Monday during its general assembly in Paris by a vote of 107 to 14. The vote activated legislation adopted nearly two decades ago that prohibits U.S. funding to U.N. agencies that accord the Palestine Liberation Organization statehood status.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Monday that a $60 million payment to UNESCO scheduled for November will not be delivered. The U.S. annual dues to UNESCO comprise more than 20 percent of the agency’s budget.

“The bottom line is there’s going to be a large hole in UNESCO’s budget because of the American law which withdraws funding, and people at UNESCO should not look to Canada to fill that budget hole,” Baird said. “They’ll have to go to the countries who supported this resolution; that caused this budget loophole.”

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