The United States government will pay $619 million in accumulated fees to return to the United Nations arts and culture organization, UNESCO, after the administration of former President Donald Trump decided to withdraw from this organization in 2019.
The State Department, under the administration of President Joe Biden, sent a letter last month to Audrey Azoulay, Director General of UNESCO, announcing the nation's intention to rejoin the international cultural agency.
UNESCO met on Thursday to review the US proposal and hold a vote with 132 votes in favor or readmit the US to 10 votes against, the agency said in a press release.
“With this return, UNESCO will be in an even stronger position to bring out his mandate,' Azoulay said.” It is a great day for UNESCO and for multilateralism. Building on the momentum achieved in recent years.
"It’s a great day for UNESCO and for multilateralism. Building upon the momentum achieved in recent years, our Organization is once again moving towards universalism with this return of the #UnitedStates" – @AAzoulayhttps://t.co/p7YWI5f5YL #UnescoGC pic.twitter.com/7kNVgIuuV1— UNESCO ðŸ›ï¸ #Education #Sciences #Culture ðŸ‡ºðŸ‡³ (@UNESCO) June 30, 2023
In addition to paying its arrears, the United States also agreed to finance 22% of UNESCO's budget and contribute to programs that increase access to education in Africa, among others.
“I am encouraged and grateful that UNESCO members have accepted the US proposal,” US â€‹â€‹Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement, adding that the vote will allow us to continue with the steps to rejoin the organization.