The Obama administration is cutting off funding for the U.N. cultural agency because it approved a Palestinian bid for full membership.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says Monday’s vote triggers a long-standing congressional restriction on funding to U.N. bodies that recognise Palestine as a state before an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal is reached.

Ms. Nuland says UNESCO’s decision was “regrettable, premature and undermines our shared goal to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace” between Israelis and Palestinians.

She says the U.S. would refrain from making a $60 million payment it planned to make in November.

But Ms. Nuland said the U.S. would maintain membership in the body.

The Palestinians want full membership in the U.N., but Israel opposes the bid. The U.S. says it would veto a vote in the Security Council.

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