PARIS, MAY 2 – The Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano announced on Tuesday that Italy is voting against a UNESCO resolution on Jerusalem. “I have given precise voting instructions to Italy’s permanent representative to UNESCO to vote against the umpteenth politicized resolution on Jerusalem, which, among other things, is planned on the day of an important Israeli national holiday,” Alfano said.
“Our opinion is very clear – UNESCO cannot become the venue for a permanent ideological clash to address issues that other bodies are delegated to solve””, the Italian Minister said, calling upon other countries to follow Italy’s example. After the vote, the FM confirmed on Twitter that “Italy voted no against UNESCO politicized resolution on Israel. Others, after us, on the same path. Italy leader not follower.”
The vote coincided with Israel Independence Day. Alfano, who had a telephone conversation today with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, explained that this year “no” was “consistent with what we stated last year”. Even though this year resolution has been improved, thanks to the action of Italian diplomats and to an increased flexibility by the Jordanian-Palestinian part, “the text still remained very politicized, while we thing that UNESCO should remain faithful to its core mandate, that is education and culture”, the Minister added.
The resolution was later approved with 22 votes in favor and 10 against. Israel defined “absurd” the outcome, noting however a positive diplomatic change: more states abstained or supported Israel than voted against. 26 countries either abstained or were absent during the vote. It was the first time that such a resolution at UNESCO has had this little support. (@OnuItalia)