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UNESCO plans mission in Libya

Published time: September 18, 2011 08:14
Edited time: September 18, 2011 12:14

A Libyan National Transition Council (NTC) fighter sips an orange drink at an outpost close to the frontline of the Bani Walid Kadhafi hold-out, southeast of Tripoli on September 17, 2011 (AFP Photo)

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The continuing war in Libya is endangering five sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. The body’s director general Irina Bokova says the organization plans to send a mission to the country as soon as the conflict there is over.

­“From the very first day of the conflict I have launched appeals to both parties involved, I have spoken to NATO and to the Libyan people to preserve monuments in the country,” explained Bokova. “After the end of the conflict UNESCO will be starting a mission in Libya,” the UNESCO director general added.

The five sites include Cyrene (an ancient Greek colony which became a Roman city), Leptis Magna (a prominent city of the Roman Empire), the archeological site Sabratha, and the rock-art sites of Tadrart Acacus and Ghadames, an oasis town in the west of Libya.  

The UNESCO chief said that preserving historical heritage around the globe is easier today than it used to be, as people have begun to appreciate its importance.  

However, Ms Bokova expressed regret that even today, few seem willing to take responsibility for the destruction of cultural heritage, even in cases where preventative  action is possible:

“In Congo, there are four natural parks which are on the World Heritage List. After the civil war that shook the country, UNESCO appealed to the government to take measures, and in January 2011 we managed to draft a joint plan for preserving one of the parks,” Irina Bokova told RT.

She admitted, though, that the situation for cultural heritage has improved significantly.

“The overall concept and the necessity to preserve heritage and culture has acquired a meaning. I believe, on the whole, we are successful,” she concluded.

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