PARIS, June 22 (Xinhuanet) -- UNESCO director general Koichiro Matsuura called on Wednesday for mobilization against illegal dig on archaeological sites in Iraq and expressed concern on irreversible damage that would be caused by installation of military bases in particular at Hatra and in Babylon.
"Illegal digs on archaeological sites unfortunately
are continuing to destroy Iraq's heritage," said Matsuura at a meeting of an
international committee for the protection of Iraq's cultural heritage.
"It is totally impossible to evaluate the number of
objects illegally removed from archaeological sites, it is an inestimable loss
for Iraq and for all of humanity," he said.
"The installation of military bases on or near
archaeological sites, such as Hatra, ancient Parthian Empire, and Babylon, must
mobilize us without delay, for they risk to cause irreversible damage," he
He noted that US troops are stationed near Hatra,
which is on UNESCO's world heritage list since 1985, while in January the
British Museum in London accused Polish and US troops of causing "substantial
damage" at Babylon.
He reminded that some 15,000 antiquities are still
missing after the museum of Baghdad and a number of other cultural institutions
in the country were pillaged by US-led coalition forces following the US-led
He also noted that it was impossible to evaluate the
number of the objects illegally taken away from the archeological sites. "It is
an inestimable loss for Iraq, and also for the whole mankind," he said.
Matsuura hailed financial contributions from Italy,
France, Japan and the Czech Republic and technical assistance from the United
States and Germany to rebuild Baghdad's cultural institutions. Enditem