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Palestinians win initial vote on joining UNESCO, US baffled.

The 58-nation executive board of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) voted in favour of full Palestinian membership to the organisation, by 40 to 4.
The US, Germany, Latvia and Romania opposed the move, whilst fourteen members, including Belgium, France, Italy and Spain abstained. 
It is believed that the UNESCO membership would facilitate the Palestinians seeking greater protection of their historical and cultural sites - no doubt a source of contention with Israel, particularly with regards to sites in East Jerusalem.
"[UNESCO] is one place where we can acquire our rightful place among the community of nations as a full member,” said, Riyad Mansour, Palestinian envoy to the UN.
The bid for UNESCO membership is part of a wider campaign of full recognition for the state of Palestine by the UN Security Council, which has been strongly opposed by the US and Israel.
The United States urged all UNESCO delegates to vote against the bid.
Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, described the UNESCO decision as "confusing" and "inexplicable". 
"I found quite confusing and somehow inexplicable that you would have organs of the United Nations making decisions about statehood or statehood status while the issue has been presented to the United Nations,"
"The decision about status must be made in the United Nations and not in auxiliary groups," she added. 
Nimrod Barkan, Israel's ambassador to UNESCO, criticised the UNESCO move.
"The problem is that the politicisation of UNESCO is detrimental to the ability of the organisation to carry out its mandate," said Barkan.

For full membership, the Palestinians would need the approval at the 193-nation general conference to be held later this month.

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