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Ambassador Rice Justifies Budget Requests for U.N., UNESCO

Washington, DC
Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ambassador Susan Rice, head of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, defends the State Department's FY 2013 Budget Request for foreign operations. She is expected to take questions on programs related to Syria, North Korea, Iran, Palestinians and UNESCO during her testimony at a House Appropriations Subcmte. hearing.

The State Department's overall request for foreign operations is $51.6 billion, with $1.5 billion to meet U.S. obligations to nearly 50 international organizations, including the United Nations. Ambassador Rice will likely take questions about the effectiveness of U. N. resolutions aimed at blocking nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea.

The ambassador is also expected to be questioned over a $79 million request for UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

Critics point out that last October UNESCO voted to include Palestine as a member, putting the educational organization in conflict with a 1994 Congressional statute baring U.S. funds from supporting organizations that include countries without international recognition.

The U.S. opposed the Palestinian's request for formal recognition of statehood from the United Nation's General Assembly and withdrew $60 million in UNESCO support following the Palestine vote.

The administration is also asking for $770 million for the Middle East and North Africa Incentive Fund, which would support countries undergoing change as a result of the "Arab Spring." During testimony to a Senate Appropriations subcmte., Secretary of State Clinton said the funds would also aid the Syrian people to "plan for a future without [Bashir] Assad."

Updated: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 7:13pm (ET)

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