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Iraqi Cultural Heritage: UNESCO is thanked for its action by Iraqi Ministers of Culture and of Tourism and Archaeology

24-06-2005 - The Iraqi Minister of Culture, Mr. Nuri Farhan al-Rawi, and the Minister of State for Tourism and Archaeology, Mr. Hashim al-Hashimi, warmly thanked the Director-General of UNESCO for the support the Organization has offered Iraq in the domain of culture. “Many thanks, you are a friend of Iraqi Culture,” they told him during a meeting held on the fringe of the second gathering of the International Committee to Safeguard the Cultural Heritage of Iraq*(ICC) .

min_iraq3_300.jpg The Director-General thanked them warmly for their appreciation of the work accomplished by UNESCO, despite difficult field conditions, for the protection of Iraqi cultural goods and institutions. Mr. Matsuura again expressed his wish to open an office in Baghdad as rapidly as possible with the aim of easing the fruitful cooperation already established between UNESCO and all those charged with culture in Iraq. The Director-General announced that the designated Director of the Baghdad office was on the point of leaving for Amman. He will exercise his functions from there, with the specialists who constitute his team, until he can go to Iraq. Mr. Matsuura reiterated his intention of dispatching a third experts’ mission on site to launch new initiatives.

The Iraqi Minister of Culture praised the fact that cooperation between his country and UNESCO is not delayed by the present difficulties. He congratulated the Director-General for the quality of the ICC meeting which allowed the Iraqi experts to make a detailed presentation of the situation to the Member States as well as to their very numerous colleagues attending the meeting. He assured the Director of the future Baghdad office that his ministry is at his entire disposal to help him accomplish his mission.

The Minister of State for Tourism and Archaeology emphasised the importance his country accorded this meeting, as witnessed by the presence of two ministers, many high-level experts and upper-management representatives of Iraq’s principal cultural institutions. For his country, he said, the meeting has the same importance as the one held yesterday in Brussels. He shared the opinion of the Director-General that all action undertaken today to preserve Iraq’s cultural heritage, whether it be tangible or intangible, will have positive consequences for the growth of tourism in his country. Concerning the intangible heritage, Mr. Matsuura expressed his satisfaction that “Iraqi Maqam” has been inscribed on the list of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. He also urged Iraq to ratify the 2003 Convention, a vital tool for both the safeguard of cultural identity and for the development of tourism.

During the meeting, also attended by Mr. Muhyi K. Alkateeb, Permanent Delegate of Iraq to UNESCO and by the Director of the Baghdad Museum, stock was taken of the work in progress of the ICC. The following issues have already been reviewed: the condition of the museums, specifically the Baghdad Museum; the protection of archaeological sites and historical monuments and the preservation of the intangible heritage. Regarding the pillaging of archaeological sites and the illegal trafficking in Iraqi cultural goods, the participants expressed their vigorous concern and appealed to Iraq’s neighbours to improve border controls. A detailed review of concrete action taken in the field was presented to donator countries. In this regard, the Member States expressed their satisfaction as well as their desire to continue with the cooperation already begun, particularly in the field of training.

The meeting continued with a working lunch offered to the Iraqi Delegation by the Director-General.

voir Flash Info n°110


Source Flash Info n°113-2005





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