"Palestinian membership as a state in UNESCO triggers long-standing legislative restrictions which will compel the United States to refrain from making contributions to UNESCO," State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, told reporters at her daily news conference.
"We were to have made a USD 60 million payment to UNESCO in November, and we will not be making that payment," Nuland said. The total American annual contribution to UNESCO is USD 80 billion which is more than one-fifth of its budget.
The State Department's announcement in this regard came soon after the White House termed it as premature. Today's vote at UNESCO to admit the Palestinian Authority as a member, is premature and undermines the international community's shared goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney, told reporters.
"Today's vote distracts us from our shared goal of direct negotiations that result in a secure Israel and an independent Palestine living side by side in peace and security," Carney said in response to a question.
I mean, not unlike the issue of membership as we discussed, the path to peace is through direct negotiations, and we support measures and steps that bring the two sides closer to direct negotiations, which is the only way to resolve the differences between them, said the White House spokesperson.