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Protection of cultural heritage in Kosovo 

The first official visit of the UN Secretary-General's representative for Kosovo to UNESCO. 
On 24 January 2005, Mr Kochiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, had a meeting with Mr Soren Jessen-Petersen, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) for Kosovo and Head of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).
Mr Jessen-Petersen expressed his wish to further enhance cooperation with UNESCO, in particular, as he felt that the question of the protection and preservation of the cultural heritage sites in Kosovo should be high on the agenda during the forthcoming talks on the implementation of standards.

Mentioning his discussions with the UN Secretary-General in November 2002, the Director-General told Mr Jessen-Petersen that UNESCO would be happy to cooperate on the preservation and protection of the cultural heritage in Kosovo.

Mr Matsuura referred to the two UNESCO expert missions to Kosovo in March 2003 and April 2004, which had formulated a series of recommendations and project proposals, and the scheduled expert mission to restore the church of The Holy Virgin of Ljeviska in Prizren, which had been seriously damaged during the March 2004 events.

The Director-General explained that these reports would serve as a basis for the organization of a donors' conference, which UNESCO planned to convene in cooperation with UNMIK in May 2005 in order to raise funds for the restoration and protection of a multi-ethnic heritage in danger. Mr Jessen-Petersen accepted Mr Matsuura's invitation to open the conference with him.

The SRSG informed the Director-General that the Monastery of Dečani inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2004 was under the direct protection of UNMIK and sought UNESCO's guidance on the criteria and measures to be taken to better preserve and protect this site, in particular against illicit construction in the buffer zone.

Mr Matsuura and Mr Jessen-Petersen also discussed UNESCO's assistance to and participation in the local or regional committees established to help preserve cultural heritage in Kosovo.

Finally, reiterating UNESCO's readiness to extend its assistance and expertise as concerns the cultural heritage in Kosovo, the Director-General underscored the importance of joint efforts and close cooperation of all parties concerned.

Publication Date 25 Jan 2005
Author(s) Office of the Spokeswoman
Flash Info n013-2005

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