The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the government of Iraq have concluded an agreement on reconstructing the sacred al-Askari shrine in Samarra, badly damaged by attacks last year and earlier this month.
"The commitment of the Iraqi authorities and the international community to work together on the reconstruction of this highly symbolic site is a reason for hope," Matsuura said UNESCO director general Koichiro Matsuura.
"Respecting cultural heritage is one of the fundamental principles of the reconstruction process for a country such as Iraq, and a decisive step towards national reconciliation,"
The shrine - one of the holiest Shiite sites in Iraq - was attacked on 22 February 2006, triggering a wave of sectarian violence across the country, and then again on 13 June.
The reconstruction will start "as soon as security conditions are guaranteed and will continue over a period of ten months," UNESCO said in a statement. The Iraqi government is expected to provide 3 million dollars of the 8.4 million dollar project, with the rest coming from the UN Development Group Iraq Trust Fund.
The agreement was signed in Amman by Mohamed Djelid, director of the UNESCO Iraq office, and Hak Al-Hakeem, reconstruction and environment affairs advisor to Iraq's prime minister.
Last Mod: 26 Haziran 2007, 18:31