Palestine becomes member of UN cultural body

PARIS – The United Nations cultural agency has admitted Palestine as a full member in a highly divisive bid that opponents say could harm renewed peace efforts.

US lawmakers had threatened to withhold some US$80 million in funding to UNESCO if it approved Palestinian membership.

Huge cheers went up in UNESCO after delegates voted to approve the membership Monday. One shouted, "Long Live Palestine!" in French.

Palestinian officials are seeking full membership in the United Nations, but because that effort is expected to take some time, they separately sought membership at Paris-based UNESCO.

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