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UNESCO chief says door open for Israel to come back

The United States is in the process of rejoining UNESCO after leaving it six years ago, while Israel currently has no intention to once again follow suit.
Audrey Azoulay

PARIS — UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay told Al-Monitor on Tuesday that the doors of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization remain open for Israel to come back, should it wish to do so, more than six years after it left. 

Speaking from her office in Paris, Azoulay said that that United States' expected return could prompt Israel to rethink its position on the issue.

"If Israel expresses its interest in coming back, it will be the same thing [as for the Americans]. The door is open," said Azoulay. "When Israel announced its departure from UNESCO at the end of 2017, just after the Americans, they said that it was not what they wanted, but they were following the Americans on that. Now, there is another government in Israel. It is for them to decide."

The United States is preparing to rejoin the Paris-based organization at the beginning of July. UNESCO's 193 member states are expected to vote either Thursday or Friday on Washington's request to rejoin the organization. 

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