During their meeting, President Silajdzić and the Director-General discussed the status of cooperation between UNESCO and Bosnia and Herzegovina with a focus on projects in the field of culture. Mr Matsuura felt that the Old Bridge of Mostar was highly symbolic of the strengthening of this cooperation in recent years. During the Director-General’s first official visit to the country in June 2002, the Mostar Bridge had been completely destroyed. Mr Matsuura visited the country for the second time in July 2004 to participate in the inauguration of the rebuilt bridge. By the time of his third visit in March 2008, the Old Bridge area of the Old City of Mostar had been inscribed on the World Heritage List.
Underscoring the importance of cultural heritage preservation, Mr Matsuura expressed his hope that appropriate measures would be taken for the protection of the Old Bridge area of the Old City of Mostar, in line with the decision of the World Heritage Committee at its 32nd session in Quebec, Canada, in July 2008.
The President highlighted the importance Bosnia and Herzegovina attached to its cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible. After the inscription of the Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge in Višegrad on the World Heritage List in 2007, the country had two World Heritage sites and was preparing the nomination file of the natural and architectural ensemble of Jajce. The Director-General reconfirmed UNESCO’s readiness to provide technical assistance needed in this regard.
Referring to the country’s ratification of the 2003 Convention on the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, the President explained that the process of ratifying the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions was under way. The Director-General expressed his appreciation of the importance Bosnia and Herzegovina attached to the body of UNESCO’s normative instruments in the field of culture and encouraged ratification of the 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage.
President Silajdzić thanked the Director-General for UNESCO’s interest in cooperating on the preservation and promotion of medieval tombstones found in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the most famous necropolis of which in Radimlja UNESCO would be helping to restore with funds from the UN Security Trust Fund.
The Director-General reiterated UNESCO’s continued commitment to cooperation on the preservation and promotion of the diverse cultural heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was a testimony of the coexistence of communities from diverse cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds in the country. In this regard, he recalled the launching of a project of three sites – Orthodox Church of Mostar, Ferhad Pasha Mosque of Banja-Luka and the Franciscan Monastery of Plehan - during his visit to the country in March 2008.
Author(s): Office of the Spokesperson - Source: Flash Info N° 131-2008 - Publication Date: 03-10-2008