Minister Baird Disappointed at UNESCO Approval of Palestinian Membership

(No. 324 - November 1, 2011 - 6:15 p.m. ET) Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement regarding yesterday’s vote by UNESCO members approving the Palestinian request for membership:

“Canada deeply regrets this decision.

“Unilateral Palestinian efforts to seek member- or observer-state status in the UN, UNESCO and other international organizations without a negotiated peace agreement with Israel are ultimately unhelpful. We are currently reviewing our options in response to this unilateral action.

“Canada stood and voted against the Palestinian request for membership in UNESCO.

“Under no circumstances will Canada be contributing more money to cover any budgetary shortfall that may result from this decision. Those countries that voted in favour of the Palestinian proposal ought to have known the potential financial implications this would have.

“Canada has also decided that we are currently not considering any new funding proposals for UNESCO programs.

“Canada is committed to the goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East. Canada again urges the parties to resume direct peace talks, without delay or preconditions, on the basis of the September 23 Quartet Statement.”

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