The United States plans to withdraw from UNESCO, the U.N.'s cultural and educational agency, diplomats said on Thursday, dealing a further blow to an organization hobbled by regional rivalries and a lack of funds.
Unesco said the withdrawal was a loss to the "UN family" and to multilateralism. The move was announced by Heather Nauert, spokesperson of the state department.
It added that the United States would seek to "remain engaged.as a non-member observer state in order to contribute US views, perspectives and expertise".
The Trump administration has been preparing for a likely withdrawal for months, and a decision was expected before the end of the year, according to US officials.
UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova said she received official notification from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, adding she expressed "profound regret at the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from UNESCO".
Washington's move was "a loss for multiculturalism and the United Nations family", she added.
The United States had cancelled its substantial budget contribution to UNESCO in 2011 in protest at a decision to grant the Palestinians full membership. Since then, the UNESCO has maintained its office in Paris headquarters.