Donors urged to guard heritage threatened by war and extremism

March 20 2017, 4.03pmUpdated: March 20 2017, 8.09pm
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World donors have pledged more than 75 million dollars (£60 million) to protect endangered world heritage in conflict zones.

French president Francois Hollande, speaking at a donors’ conference in the Louvre Museum in Paris, said that the goal for the heritage fund is 100 million dollars (£80 million) and urged other countries around the world to contribute.

France is pledging 30 million dollars (£24 million) for the fund, and Saudi Arabia is committing 20 million dollars (£16 million), according to the French culture ministry.

The United Arab Emirates have promised 15 million dollars (£12 million), Kuwait five million dollars (£4 million), Luxembourg three million dollars (£2.4 million) and Morocco 1.5 million dollars (£1.2 million), while philanthropist Thomas Kaplan pledged one million dollars (£800,000).

Switzerland pledged further money in administrative and legal support, and will host the fund in Geneva.

Italy said it would provide military personnel and conservation experts.

The conference aims to build an international fund to prevent or stop the destruction of historical sites.

Organisers also want to create a network of sites around the world to temporarily store endangered artefacts and to pay for the restoration of sites damaged by war.

Islamic State militants have stolen or destroyed a host of cultural artefacts, including the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra, the Mosul museum in Iraq and the 13th century BC Assyrian capital of Nimrud, which is also in Iraq.

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