CAIRO, 4th April, 2016 (WAM) — The Arab League today warned of the risks posed by deliberate and vicious terrorist attacks that target the Arab cultural heritage.

It added that repercussions of such attacks lead to negative effects, stressing that such attacks by extremist groups threaten the ancient Arab civilisation.

This came in a speech delivered by Dr. Nabil Elaraby, secretary general of the Arab League at the opening session of the Second International Conference of the Faculty of Archaeology, Fayoum University, Egypt. It was organised by the Arab League under the slogan, “Archaeological Heritage in the Arab world: Challenges and Solutions.”

He said that the Arab League puts the protection of the Arab cultural heritage among its top priorities in the light of the unfolding circumstances in the Arab region, and ferocious attacks on the important Arab ancient antiquities.

“We are facing major challenges in the form of crises that the region has been experiencing, notably, the fierce terrorist attacks deliberately targeting the destruction of the Arab cultural heritage and threatening our ancient civilisation.” While continuing to destroy the valuable monuments, the extremist groups were stripping themselves of all responsibilities, he added.

He noted that the Secretariat General of the Arab League was preparing an Arab strategy to protect the heritage, adding that he would hold a meeting of the experts, including ??Arab states and international organisations, in the second half of this year to develop the final vision of the strategy. El Araby noted that the secretariat is working on the preparation of a cultural development plan beyond 2016, with emphasis on maintaining the Arab cultural heritage.

El Araby emphasised there are international agreements to recover looted antiquities as discussed at the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities. He cited that a committee was formed to recover Queen Nefertiti’s head from Germany. The committee also resolved to hold a campaign in the countries that had plundered Egyptian monuments.

The opening session of the conference was attended by Egypt’s Ministers of Antiquities and Awqaf, Al-Azhar Under-Secretary in addition to representatives of Arab organisations concerned with the protection of heritage.