November 1, 2011 / 8:50 PM / in 6 years

Canada won't make up UNESCO funding shortfalls

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada will not help make up any funding shortfall to U.N. cultural agency UNESCO, which is under financial pressure after a vote to grant the Palestinians full membership, Foreign Minister John Baird said Tuesday.

<p>Canada's Foreign Minister John Baird speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa October 4, 2011. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>

The United States stopped funding UNESCO after Monday’s vote, which it said made the Middle East peace process more complicated. Washington, like Canada, is a staunch ally of Israel and provides 22 percent of UNESCO’s funding.

“Under no circumstances will Canada cover the budgeting shortfall as a result of this decision and Canada has decided to freeze all further contributions to UNESCO,” Baird told reporters, adding Ottawa was deeply disappointed by the vote.

The UNESCO decision will boost the Palestinians’ bid at the United Nations for recognition as a state. Canada and the United States both voted against such a move.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Rob Wilson

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