Former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora Friday vehemently criticized the U.S. for cutting off contributions to UNESCO after the body granted membership to Palestine, and urged Arabs instead to pay Washington’s allotted share.
“The U.S.’ decision to stop paying its share of the funds to UNESCO has shocked both Arab and world public opinion,” Siniora said a statement Friday.
“This U.S. decision is totally unacceptable. It would be better for the United States to … revoke [its decision] because it is contrary to the values and principles advocated by the American people and is a flagrant bias on the part of the U.S., alongside Israel, in the face of the rights of the Palestinian people,” he added.
“It is also a clear message sent by America to the people of the region and the world and the Palestinian people that it stands against peoples’ right to freedom and independence, and that it is still unable to play the role of an honest broker,” said Siniora, who also heads the Future parliamentary bloc.
He appealed to the Arab League as well as Arab kings and presidents and Islamic countries, in addition to Western and friendly countries to “collect and pay the amounts that were to be paid by the United States and Israel to UNESCO.”
“I am confident that this step would thwart Israeli blackmail and intimidation and U.S. pressure [for the sake of] dominance,” Siniora concluded.
UNESCO lost around 25 percent of its annual funding after the U.S., and shortly later Canada, halted their contributions after the Palestinians won membership Monday. It lost a further $2 million when Israel Thursday announced it would withhold its annual contribution.
The Daily Star