The US has said it is withdrawing funding from the UN cultural organisation Unesco after the body voted in favour of giving full membership to the Palestinians.

The vote on Palestinian membership was passed by a majority of more than 61 per cent.

In response to the vote, a US State Department spokeswomen said the US payment of $60m due next month would be cancelled.

Unesco is the first UN agency that the Palestinians have tried to join since they submitted their bid for recognition to the UN Security Council in September. The Security Council is expected to vote before the end of November on whether to grant Palestinians full UN membership.