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World leaders to meet in Abu Dhabi for cultural heritage conference

ABU DHABI // Heads of state and representatives from more than 40 countries will attend a conference in Abu Dhabi this weekend to ratify a global declaration on protecting endangered cultural heritage.

The two-day conference, hosted by the UAE and France, will involve global cooperation for supporting a Unesco mandate to protect cultural heritage during armed conflicts.

Participants will aim to safeguard historical sites and monuments that represent civilisations dating back millennia, from systematic destruction or looting, as has taken place in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Mali and other countries.

Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, emir of Qatar, Abdel Fattah El Sisi, president of Egypt, and Francois Hollande, president of France, will attend the conference.

A main focus point will be improving legal and funding mechanisms to facilitate emergency protection of heritage sites, as well as post-conflict rehabilitation.

Attendees will also study the development of solutions and the creation of a global framework for immediate and long-term goals.

Participants are expected to create a global network of safe havens for endangered works, and an international financial fund for long-term programmes to preserve cultural heritage and support conservation professionals working in conflict areas.

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The National