PARIS, Dec 13 (KUNA) — France on Tuesday issued a warm welcome to Palestine as it was admitted to UNESCO, a process that was supported by France but opposed by the United States and Israel.
“What we want to say about the (admission) ceremony is that we welcome Palestine to UNESCO,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said.
He recalled that France “voted in favour of this admission to UNESCO and we are happy to see the Palestinians come in and that this has become concrete.” The Palestinian demand to join the UN body set off a clash between some Europeans and the United States and Israel and led to the cutting off of funding to UNESCO by the US Congress and Israel.
Valero said that France urged the United States to resume financing of UNESCO as the work of this organisation was in line with the values shared by the US.
He said that France and its partners would continue to seek ways to fill the gap left by the US funding cut and UNESCO was also seeing where it could make budget adjustments.
But Valero also noted that it was difficult for member countries to increase contributions because of the difficult economic context in many areas.
He noted that the issue will be discussed at the next Executive Board meeting of UNESCO, which will take place in February.
(www.kuna.net.kw / 13.12.2011)