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Bolivian leader decries U.S. response to UNESCO's Palestine vote

11-02-2011 14:28 BJT

LA PAZ, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- Bolivian President Evo Morales Tuesday criticized the U.S. decision to cut its funding for the UNESCO after the UN body voted to recognize Palestine as a sovereign member state.

"How is it possible that the United States can veto this decision by UNESCO? If Israel is bombing and invading Palestine, why don't the military forces of the United States go to Israel to stop the bombing and the abuse of Palestine," said Morales.

The Palestinian bid for full membership was approved earlier on Monday by the General Conference of UNESCO, which was convened in Paris, with 107 votes in favor, 14 votes against and 52 abstentions. Palestine thus became UNESCO's 195th member state.

UNESCO, or the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, is the first UN agency to admit Palestine as a full member after Palestine's failed bid for a full UN membership.

After the vote, the United States, which provides nearly a quarter of UNESCO's budget, announced it would suspend the payment of 60 million U.S. dollars to this organization as of November.

Bolivia recognized Palestine as an independent state in December 2010. The South American country broke off diplomat ties with Israel in January 2009 in response to the Jewish state's military raid on the Gaza Strip.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: Xinhua

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