The United Nations scientific, educational and cultural organization has agreed to readmit the United States as a member.
UNESCOs governing board voted 132-10 on Friday to accept the U.S. proposal to rejoin the Paris-based agency. Americas membership will become official once Secretary of State Antony Blinken or a designee formally accepts the invitation, according to Biden administration officials.
Blinken said the vote would restore U.S. leadership on a host of issues of importance and value to the American people.
I am encouraged and grateful that today the membership accepted our proposal, which will allow the United States to take the next, formal steps toward fully rejoining the organization, he said in a statement.
Russian, Palestinian and North Korean representatives had held up consideration of the U.S. proposal on Thursday with hours of procedural delays. That session was adjourned due to fatigue on the part of UNESCO interpreters.
In addition to Russia, North Korea and the Palestinians, those that voted against readmitting the U.S. were Belarus, China, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Nicaragua and Syria.
The Biden administration had announced in early June that it would apply to rejoin the organization mainly because it was concerned that China was filling a gap left by the U.S. absence from the body. The 193-member UNESCO plays a major role in setting international standards for artificial intelligence and technology education around the world.
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U.S. decides to rejoin UNESCO to counter Chinese influence, will pay arrears
The U.S. plans to rejoin UNESCO, the U.N.s cultural and scientific arm, and will pay more than $600 million in back dues after a decade-long dispute.