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Kerry enlists Netanyahu in congressional fight over UNESCO funding

Israel has dropped its opposition to restoring UNESCO budget despite Palestinian statehood vote.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (C), UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and officials attend the flag raising ceremony for the Palestinian flag at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris December 13, 2011. The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) became the first U.N. agency to welcome the Palestinians as a full member since President Mahmoud Abbas applied for full membership of the United Nations on September 23.  REUTERS/Benoit Tessier (France - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR2V6RT

The Obama administration has neutralized Israeli opposition to funding the UN’s cultural agency, but the battle rages on in Congress.

Irate lawmakers demanded an end to the $80 million in annual US payments to UNESCO in 2011 after it recognized Palestine as a state. The State Department has been trying to lift the ban ever since, with Secretary of State John Kerry and other top officials hitting the phones over the past few days as they try to convince Democrats and Republicans involved in the year-end congressional budget negotiations to lift their blanket opposition.

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