As part of its advisory efforts on countering terrorism and organised crime, EUAM Iraq is mandated to assist the Iraqi authorities in tackling destruction and illicit trafficking of cultural artefacts.
In this regard, Deputy Head of Mission Mr. Benny Jensen met with the Minister of Culture, Tourism and Antiquities Dr. Abdul Amir Al-Hamdani to discuss needs, priorities and areas of cooperation in preserving and promoting Iraqi’s extraordinary cultural heritage.
The meeting focused especially on illicit trafficking and illegal excavations as well as on strategies for the recovery of stolen artefacts. The Minister’s priority is the protection of archaeological sites from looting and pillaging, while identification and information sharing of stolen items was discussed as a key instrument in effectively combating the smuggling of cultural antiquities. The Mission’s advisory role to the Artefacts Recovery Department of the Ministry was also considered as an enabler in helping to assure the strategic efforts to return Iraqi cultural treasures.
The Minister expressed his appreciation for the EUAM contribution to cultural heritage protection and welcomed the Mission’s commitment to work with key government institutions in seeking to address this complex and crucial issue.