of the Ancient Iranian City of Hatra
director general Koichiro Matsuura called on Wednesday for mobilization
against illegal dig on archaeological sites in former Iranian province of Khvarvaran
(today known as Iraq) and expressed concern on irreversible damage that
would be caused by installation of military bases in particular at
Parthian city of Hatra and in Babylon.
digs on archaeological sites unfortunately are continuing to destroy
heritage," said Matsuura at a meeting of an international committee
for the protection of Iraq's cultural heritage.
"It is totally impossible to evaluate the number of
objects illegally removed from archaeological sites, it is an inestimable
loss for Iraq and for all of humanity," he said.
"The installation of military bases on or near
archaeological sites, such as Hatra, ancient Parthian Empire, and Babylon,
must mobilize us without delay, for they risk to cause irreversible
damage," he added.
He noted that US troops are stationed near Hatra, which is
on UNESCO's world heritage list since 1985, while in January the British
Museum in London accused Polish and US troops of causing "substantial
damage" at Babylon.
He reminded that some 15,000 antiquities are still missing
after the museum of Baghdad and a number of other cultural institutions in
the country were pillaged by US-led coalition forces following the US-led
He also noted that it was impossible to evaluate the
number of the objects illegally taken away from the archeological sites.
"It is an inestimable loss for Iraq, and also for the whole
mankind," he said.
Matsuura hailed financial contributions from Italy,
France, Japan and the Czech Republic and technical assistance from the
United States and Germany to rebuild Baghdad's cultural institutions.