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    A general view taken on March 31, 2016 shows a photographer holding his picture of the Temple of Bel taken on March 14, 2014 in front of the remains of the historic temple after it was destroyed by Islamic State (IS) group jihadists in September 2015 in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra

    Abu Dhabi Conference Participants Agree to Set Up Heritage Protection Fund

    © AFP 2019 / JOSEPH EID
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    According to the so-called Abu Dhabi Declaration issued at the conclusion of the Safeguarding Endangered Cultural Heritage conference, representatives of around 40 countries agreed on Saturday to establish a fund to protect heritage sites in war zones and set up a network of safe havens for artworks in jeopardy.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) Representatives of around 40 countries agreed on Saturday to establish a fund to protect heritage sites in war zones and set up a network of safe havens for artworks in jeopardy, the so-called Abu Dhabi Declaration issued at the conclusion of the Safeguarding Endangered Cultural Heritage conference said.

    "We commit ourselves to pursuing two ambitious and long-term objectives to ensure the mobilization of the international community for the preservation of the heritage: The establishment of an international fund for the protection of cultural heritage in danger in times of armed conflict… The creation of an international network of shelters to temporarily safeguard cultural property endangered by armed conflicts or terrorism on their territory," the text of the declaration released on the French Foreign Ministry's website showed.

    The fund will finance preventive or emergency measures, combat illicit trafficking in cultural property and participate in the restoration of damaged cultural property.

    According to the declaration, a follow-up conference will be held in 2017 to evaluate the implementation of the initiatives and the first projects financed by the fund.

    The meeting was organized in part as a response to the destruction and looting of archaeological sites in Iraq and Syria by the Daesh terrorist group, which is outlawed in Russia and the United States, among many other counties.

    In 2015, Daesh militants destroyed some of the antiquities, including a 2,000-year arch and two pre-Islamic temples, in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra. The group also bulldozed Nimrud, an ancient Assyrian city, located 30 kilometers south of the Iraqi city of Mosul.

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