UN cultural body weighing Palestinian membership

October 31, 2011 - 5:05 AM

PARIS (AP) — The U.N. cultural agency is weighing a request to admit Palestine as a full member, a highly divisive bid that's part of the Palestinians' broader push for greater international recognition.

U.S. lawmakers have threatened to withhold some $80 million in funding to UNESCO if it approves Palestinian membership.

U.S. officials oppose the Palestinian UNESCO request and say it could harm renewed efforts for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Palestinian officials are seeking full membership in the United Nations, but because that effort is expected to take some time, they are separately trying to get membership at Paris-based UNESCO.

Delegates at the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization are debating the request Monday and expected to vote on it later in the day.