The United States and Israel automatically lost their UNESCO voting rights Friday after failing to demonstrate their financial contribution to the organisation, a source from the UN agency told AFP.

Neither the United States nor Israel “presented the necessary documentation this morning to avoid losing their right to vote,” the source said on condition of anonymity.

Both countries stopped paying their contributions to the UN agency after Palestine was made a UNESCO member in 2011.

Paris-based UNESCO is best known for its efforts to promote education in developing countries and to protect cultural diversity, through its World Heritage Sites programme, among others.

The organization suffered a severe setback in 2011 when Washington, which accounted for about one-fifth of UNESCO’s budget, announced it was pulling funding over Palestine becoming a member.

US laws ban the government from funding a UN agency that admits the Palestinians as full members. The decision put the US at odds with the overwhelming majority of UNESCO members, including France, who voted in favour of accepting the Palestinian membership bid.

The estrangement has embarrassed US President Barack Obama’s administration, which has made clear it would like to normalize ties with UNESCO.

While the US remains an active member of the agency, it will no longer have a say in how it allocates its funds.

source: voice of russia