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Yemen Asks UNESCO for Help to Recover Stolen, Smuggled Antiquities

Yemen Asks UNESCO for Help to Recover Stolen, Smuggled Antiquities

Wednesday, 20 January, 2021 - 09:15
Yemeni Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Muammar Al-Eryani. Asharq Al-Awsat

Yemen's internationally recognized government on Tuesday renewed its request for UNESCO to help recover stolen and smuggled antiquities, and reiterated its warning against Houthification attempts targeting the national social fabric.

The request was made by Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Muammar Al-Eryani at a virtual meeting with UNESCO’s regional office director Anna Paolini.

He also asked UNESCO to hold legal training courses to qualify the national team tasked with finding smugglers and traders of antiquities.

He complained about systematic Houthi destruction of archaeological and cultural heritage sites and practices aimed at spreading extremist thoughts among schoolchildren.

Eryani pointed out to Houthis carrying out a plan to systematically destroy and reshape Yemen’s Arab identity by giving rise to an extremist generation and introducing alien rituals to society.

The minister shed light on the threat posed by feeding a full new generation with terrorist-extremist notions and turning them into time-bombs that would jeopardize security and stability in Yemen as well as in the region and the world.

Many transcripts and artifacts have been looted and smuggled abroad.

Eryani called on UNESCO to open an office in the interim capital Aden, affirming the government will offer all facilities necessary for its activities.

“The government is ready to provide the necessary support and facilities to ensure the work of the office in a way that creates a strategic partnership relationship with UNESCO,” he said.

At the meeting, Paolini said she was looking forward to working with the Yemeni government.

She reviewed UNESCO programs and interventions in the country, including those in Shibam of Hadramout, the Old Sanaa City, the City of Zabid and Aden.

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