Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry – File Photo
CAIRO – 22 September 2017: Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry participated Thursday in the ministerial conference of the Ancient Civilizations Forum on the sidelines of the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 72) in New York.
Upon invitation from Greece and China, both of which spearhead the forum, Shoukry joined the ministers of the nine other countries that represent major ancient civilizations: Iraq, Iran, Greece, Italy, China, India, Bolivia, Mexico and Peru.
Addressing the conference, Shoukry applauded the Greek and Chinese efforts in leading the project, stressing its importance in countering the terrorist phenomenon in the regional and international levels as it aims at promoting peace and stability among societies.
The foreign ministry spokesperson, Ahmed Abu Zeid, said that Shoukry called for combating the illicit trafficking in cultural property, particularly terrorist groups’ recent attempts to distort and deliberately obliterate human heritage in areas of crisis and armed conflict.
The minister pointed out that the forum should develop a mechanism for coordination among the member states and relevant international and regional organizations, especially the UNESCO, asserting that Egypt will direct its envoys to the United Nations in New York and Geneva to explore cooperation opportunities with various international organizations.
The Ancient Civilizations Forum, established in Athens on April 24, seeks to protect ancient heritage from extremism, particularly in Syria and northern Iraq from the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, which sabotages and destroys ancient places in Palmyra, Nineveh and Nimrud.