Egypt to host conference to combat destruction of antiquities by "terrorists"

Ahram Online , Wednesday 6 May 2015

The smuggling of antiquities out of Egypt is common, while the IS militant group have destroyed countless artefacts throughout the Middle East region

A man topples a statue in a museum at a location said to be Mosul in this still image taken from an undated video (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt will host for the first time a two-day international conference aiming to unify efforts to combat the destruction of antiquities by terrorist groups, a statement by the Egyptian foreign ministry read.

The conference is scheduled to take place on May 13 and 14.

A number of countries from within the Middle East, as well as representatives from UNESCO, are expected to attend the conference, the statement said.

It is also anticipated that a number of experts and officials from the United Nations plan to attend the conference, with the aim "of unifying regional and international efforts to combat the phenomena of looting and destroying antiquities by terrorist organisations."

Egypt signed agreements of bilateral understanding with a number of countries to impose restrictions on the importing and exporting of antiquities.

In addition, efforts have been made to curb the smuggling of antiquities from Egypt, foreign ministry spokesperson Badr Abdel Ati said in the statement.

Abdel Ati also said that Egypt was able to recover 500 Egyptian artifacts from abroad.

Reports of ancient Egyptian artefacts being smuggled out of Egypt are common.

In early March, video footage showed IS militants ransacking a museum by smashing statues and sculptures in Mosul, Iraq.

The destruction drew global condemnation, with the United Nations describing the damage to Iraq's rich history as a war crime. However, protests have not halted the rampage.

The ultra-radical militants attacked the 2,000-year-old city of Hatra in northern Iraq with bulldozers, days after assaulting the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud, officials said.


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