12.12.2013 - UNESCO Office in Kabul

Italy to Assist Afghanistan in Fight against Illicit Traffic of Antiquities and Restoration of Historical Monuments

The Ministry of Information and Culture of Afghanistan, Dr Raheen, was in Italy to attend the annual Bamiyan Expert Working Group. On 12 of December he paid visit to his Italian counterpart, Minister Massimo Bray. Minister Raheen thanked the Italian people and government for their tremendous financial, technical and moral support in preserving the cultural heritage of Afghanistan. Dr. Raheen mentioned that the first ministerial cabinet after the Bonn Conference was held in Rome before the cabinet moved to Kabul in December 2001. He added that this was a symbolic event showing the close ties between Afghanistan and Italy.

Minister Raheen, was accompanied by Mr. Paolo Fontani, UNESCO Representative in Afghanistan, and by the Italian Ambassador to Afghanistan, Mr Luciano Pezzotti.

Minister Bray mentioned two main areas in which his ministry will be honored to assist Afghanistan: (i) the fight against illicit trafficking of antiquities and (ii) restoration of historical monuments. He added that “Italy is the first country where a specifically trained police unit works with the culture authorities to fight against illicit trafficking of antiquities”. He suggested that training Afghan police in the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural objects could be one of the main areas of future cooperation between the two countries in the culture sector. Minister Bray also suggested that the two ministries sign an agreement in cultural cooperation which can further enhance the long-term Afghan-Italian cooperation in the field of cultural heritage.

Both Ministers in their discussions acknowledged the important role of culture in building the identity of the Afghan nation. On an invitation by Minister Raheen, Minister Bray agreed to visit Afghanistan early next year. 

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