ADDIS ABABA, Nov. 16 (Xinhuanet) -- The World Tourism Organization(WTO) urged on Tuesday the US-led international forces in Iraq to protect archaeological sites in the Middle East nation.
Francesco Frangialli, WTO secretary general, told Xinhua that the archaeological sites damages and theft is becoming a major concern for the WTO since the war in Iraq started a year ago, urging the international forces in Iraq and the Iraqi police to dotheir best not to lose sight the fact that after the war there will be a period of reconstruction.
The secretary general, who is attending a three day regional conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, also said the WTO received last week a request from the transitional government concerning these issues.
The Iraqi government asked the WTO to help them protect archaeological sites from the ongoing war in their country, Frangialli said, "we would consider their request to help them in technical assistance."
He said many archaeological sites are routinely looted and the WTO has very little information about it because the forces of thecoalition and the Iraqi police have other priorities.
"Direct damage from the fighting exists but it is not the most important. The lack of maintenance and looting are the most serious. This was something that at the beginning was supposed to be done by the forces of the coalition but they have not done enough," he added.
"I think now this can be done by the Iraqi police, part of police should be used for that. To guard a museum or guard an archaeological site does not require technical competence. A physical presence is needed outside the museum or a archaeologicalsite," he noted. Enditem