MOSCOW, April 27. /TASS/. Moscow is committed to creating an international mine clearance coalition in Syria, Russian Permanent Delegate to UNESCO Alexander Kuznetsov told a plenary meeting of its Executive Council. The text of his speech was posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website on Thursday.
"It is obvious that the situation with the criminal destruction of Syria’s cultural heritage requires urgent steps by UNESCO," Kuznetsov said. "The action plan to implement the UNESCO Strategy for the Protection of Culture and the Promotion of Cultural Pluralism in the Event of Armed Conflict submitted to the current Executive Council session is a good basis for stepping up efforts in this direction."
"The number one task is to save the gem of human civilization, Palmyra, captured and destroyed by terrorists and liberated again," he emphasized. "The first step here should be mine clearance, without which it is impossible to make a real assessment of the destruction and begin restoration work."
Kuznetsov recalled that Russian sappers are actively working in Palmyra. "However, the creation of an international mine clearing coalition in Syria would help accelerate this work," he noted. "We urge all UNESCO partners who are concerned about the preservation of this historical heritage to join efforts aimed at resolving this vital issue."