The United Nations’ cultural and scientific agency UNESCO has announced that the United States plans to rejoin – and pay more than $600m in back dues – after a decade-long dispute sparked by the organisation’s move to include Palestine as a member.

UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay informed ambassadors of the member states of the US decision in a special meeting on Monday.

US officials say the decision to return was motivated by concerns that China is filling the gap left by the US in UNESCO policymaking, notably in setting standards for artificial intelligence and technology education around the world.

US Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Richard Verma submitted a letter last week to Azoulay formalising the plan.

The proposed plan to rejoin in 2023 would be submitted to the General Conference of UNESCO Member States for final approval.

Beijing will not oppose the American request to re-join, China’s ambassador to the UN cultural body said on Monday.

Taiwan National Day Celebration


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