UNESCO ‘very concerned’ about ancient Syrian city of Palmyra

Mon, 25.05.2015 17:18

Kiev/ Ukraine in Arabic/ Spoke to Mechtild Rossler, Deputy Director of UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre. Olivier Peguy, “What do you make of the takeover of Palmyra by ISIL militants?”

Mechtild Rossler: “We are very concerned and upset about the situation, because Palmyra is one of the most important World Heritage sites. Also, it’s also one of the first sites that we included on our list in 1980. «It is a really important site, with Greek-Roman influences. Palmyra is also called the Venice of the desert.»   

 “If the site is destroyed, what can UNESCO do? Can you restore or reconstruct?”

Mechtild Rossler: “Certain conditions need to be fulfilled for that. In the case of the former Yugoslavia, we reconstructed the Mostar bridge. “We did the same in Afghanistan, not a reconstruction, but we saved areas housing Buddha statues, which included paintings. “Also, right now, we are in a phase of reconstruction work in Mali. So we know these situations well. But we need a calmer situation to be able to work on the ground.

“Right now UNESCO can only intervene with all the partners against illegal trading of artefacts. And here is where I have a request. We have to find a way to stop this illegal activity.


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