Paris — UNESCO’s executive board tentatively agreed Saturday to grant the United States observer status, and adopted a resolution expressing hope that America ‘‘will, as soon as possible, resume its active participation’”” in the organization.
The agreements came after two days of heated negotiations on programs, financial issues and personnel practices at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
America quit UNESCO on Dec. 31, saying the 160nation organization had become too political, too costly and too inefficient. Britain and Singapore have said they will leave at the end of 1985.
Japan said Tuesday it would consider similar action, and a number of West European countries have indicated they might not remain unless there are changes in UNESCO operations.
Earlier during the five-day meeting, India and Mexico proposed a compromise that would allow the United States to have observer mission at UNESCO until the organization’s rules on such status could be clarified.
The board agreed, saying the United States could do this ‘in accordance with general international practice,’’ meaning it would not have to make a formal request, according to delegates who spoke on condition they not be identified.
They said Western nations and Japan clashed frequently during the negotiations with Soviet bloc and Third World countries, which are in the majority at UNESCO.
West German delegate Karl Moersch said a “poor spirit’? prevailed during the meetings, and that the Third World and Communist countries did not make an effort to understand the West’s position.
But Nigeria’s Mohammed Moussa said the Third World nations did all they could to reach a compromise and thought there had been agreement on most issues.
Disagreements that were not resolved centered around resolutions calling for no increased assessments to meet the U.S. withdrawal, a Nordic proposal to reduce UNESCO programs, and a Soviet draft barring UNESCO from hiring Americans and spending money in the United States, the delegates said.
They said the West opposed a resolution calling on Director General Amadou Mahtar M’Bow of Senegal to create a special account for voluntary contributions to meet the budget shortfall caused by the U.S. pullout. Washington gave UNESCO $43 million a year one fourth of the organization’s annual budget.
Article extracted from this publication >> February 22, 1985