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US wins bid to remain on UNESCO board despite arrears

November 11, 2015

PARIS (AP) — The United States has been re-elected to UNESCO’s executive board, a symbolic victory for Washington as it seeks to retain sway in the U.N. cultural and scientific agency even though the U.S. stopped financing it.

Secretary of State John Kerry, who recently traveled to Paris to woo UNESCO diplomats, hailed Wednesday’s decision. In a statement, he said the U.S. would use its role to counter violent extremism, improve education for girls and promoting research and media freedom.

He also pledged to work to restore U.S. funding to UNESCO, halted in 2011 after the agency voted to include Palestine as a member. U.S. law forbids government funding to international organizations that recognize Palestinian statehood.

After Kerry’s visit, no challengers emerged to threaten the U.S. board seat, making Wednesday’s vote a formality.

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