US withdrawal from UNESCO harms multilateral humanitarian cooperation — Russian envoy

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PARIS, December 31. /TASS/. The withdrawal of the United States from UNESCO harms multilateral humanitarian cooperation, Russia’s Envoy to UNESCO Alexander Kuznetsov told TASS on Monday.

“The US announced its decision [to withdraw from UNESCO] back in the autumn of 2017, so there is nothing sensational about it,” Kuznetsov said commenting on the fact that the decision enters into force on December 31. “Back then, we expressed regret over this step that undoubtedly harms multilateral humanitarian cooperation and UNESCO’s pricniple of universality as an organization in the UN system,” he added.

The diplomat noted that “this is not the first case like that.” He reminded that “back in 1985, the US already withdrew from the organization and remained outside of it for some 20 years. However, it did not prevent UNESCO from successfully fulfilling its tasks. There is no doubt that it will be like that this time as well,” Kuznetsov said.

Commenting on developing ties between Russia and UNESCO, the diplomat noted that “these relations are traditionally marked by close cooperation practically in all spheres, including education, science, culture and information.” “It is important that there are many friends and partners of UNESCO in Russia, and not just in the capital, but also in many other regions, such as Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Yakutia and others,” he noted.

Kuznetsov said that “UNESCO has a unique mandate in the UN system, which is about ‘strengthening peace in the minds of people’ through development of international cooperation in the humanitarian sphere.” “Today it is in demand with the international community like never before in the conditions of escalation of the debate around the issue of what the future international world order should be like,” the envoy added.

Russia is “ready to facilitate the formation of the multipolar world order in the framework of this mandate on the basis of equality, respecting civilizational and cultural diversity, considering each other’s interests and strictly observing internaitonal law,” Kuznetsov concluded.

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