Clinton warns UNESCO over Palestinian membership

By Jennifer Lipman, October 6, 2011
Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

The White House has cautioned the UN heritage organisation UNESCO to cease meddling in the Palestinian attempt unilaterally to gain statehood.

The warning came after the cultural agency began considering admitting the Palestinians into its ranks.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the US could cut off aid to UNESCO as a consequence of its "inexplicable" behaviour. Currently, more than 20 per cent of UNESCO's budget comes from the US.

She said any UN discussion about Palestinian statehood should be left to the main body in New York. "Iwould urge the governing body of UNESCO to think again before proceeding with that vote," she said.

"What is the boundary of this state that is being considered by UNESCO? What authorities does it have? What jurisdiction will it be endowed with?

"Nobody knows, because those are the hard issues that can only be resolved by negotiation. Unfortunately there are those who in their enthusiasm to recognise the aspirations of the Palestinian people, are skipping over the most important step."

She added that the Palestinians should not seek to circumvent the recognition process in this way. They should "return to the negotiating table to resolve the issues that will result in a real Palestinian state".

Last updated: 11:02am, October 6 2011