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UNESCO Closes Moscow Office Citing Financial Difficulties

The UNESCO cultural and scientific agency has shut down its Moscow office after more than 20 years in operation, citing financial difficulties, a news report said Thursday.

Moscow's communication with the UN agency's main headquarters in Paris will now go through the Russian Commission for UNESCO Affairs, headed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the commission's executive secretary Grigory Ordzhonikidze was quoted by Moskva-24 news as saying Thursday.

UNESCO plans to shift the funding it had allocated for the Moscow office to the agency's African projects, Ordzhonikidze was quoted as saying.

UNESCO announced plans last year to shut down the Moscow office, with Moscow's envoy Eleonora Mitrofanova saying the decision had been made in 2008, Russian media reported.

Its Moscow office has operated since 1994 and in 2002 its mandate was extended to include four other countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Moldova.

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