Iraqi-Italian Talks to Develop Tourism and Historical Sites

Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad

Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad

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In its efforts to develop Iraq’s historical sites and tourism sector, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities is working to engage and benefit from global expertise to bolster the country’s historical and cultural status as an important cradle of civilization and culture.

Against this backdrop, Tourism and Antiquities Minister Qahtan Al-Jabouri met with the Italian ambassador in Bagdad, Maurizio Milani, and discussed with him ways to renovate a number of historical sites and museums in Iraq. The two also discussed ministry preparations for an international conference on Iraq’s antiquities, hoped to be held in the capital, Baghdad.

The Tourism and Antiquities Ministry spokesman, Abdul Zahra Al-Talaqani, confirmed this Tuesday, September 7 in remarks to journalists, including a Mawtani correspondent.

Al-Talaqani said that the tourism and antiquities minister headed the Iraqi end of a meeting which included a number of Italian archeological experts, headed by the Italian ambassador to Iraq. The talks centered on the amount of capabilities Italy could offer to support and renovate Iraqi museums by the international standards fitting of the historical and cultural significance of Iraq’s antiquities. The two sides touched on the Italians’ design proposals for some museums in Dhi Qar, Najaf, and Diwaniyah and the possibility of implementing them. The talks also included the possibility of putting together a permanent exhibit pictorially documenting the phases of digs, discoveries, and finds uncovered at Iraqi historical sites.

The meeting, said Al-Talaqani, ended with an Iraqi call for concerted global efforts and international organizations to stand with Iraq and to help it recover its stolen archeological finds, in addition to supporting digs and unearthing the archeological treasures at the many historical sites, to be displayed in the appropriate museums so as to add to the greater historical picture in a precise, scientific manner.

To this effect, Al-Talaqani revealed plans to convene a larger ambassador level meeting in the field of antiquities and archeological tourism in the coming days. Ambassadors were invited from seven sister countries: Egypt, the United States of America, Italy, Japan, Spain, Poland, and Korea. Discussions are expected to include the matter of convening an international conference in Baghdad on antiquities. Al-Talaqani said these countries had indicated their readiness to bolster the archeological sector in Iraq, and had contributed to the Iraqi Museum’s renovation and development.

Iraq recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Federal Republic of Germany to develop archeological cadres and to support Iraq’s efforts in this important cultural and historical field. This comes as part of the Iraqi government’s moves to preserve its important historical and cultural heritage.

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  • READER COMMENTS

    2009-9-12

    There are archaeological sites, but there is nothing around them but rock and sand. There are no trees. There is no civilization. There are no hotels--where will the tourists stay? The security situation is unstable. Unless tourists go to northern Iraq, [where] our Kurdish brothers provide safety in their areas, why would tourists expose themselves to risk and danger?