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Canada considers punitive measures against UNESCO over Palestinian membership

The Canadian government headed by Stephen Harper has said that it will reconsider its relations with and financial support for UNESCO following the election of Palestine as a full member. Harper's right-wing administration said that it is looking at punitive measures against the UN body as it regards this week's announcement about Palestine to be a hindrance to the Middle East peace process.

Ottawa contributes about 10 million Canadian dollars a year to UNESCO, plus two million to fund the Canadian Committee at the agency. The decision follows Washington's announcement that it is cutting its own $60 million contribution to UNESCO, which amounts to one fifth of the agency's budget. Canada is a strong supporter of the state of Israel and usually follows America's lead on issues such as this. Both countries voted against Palestinian membership of UNESCO.

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