Antiquities Recovery seminar participants: "Antiquities and relics are parts of nations' identity"

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The participants of the "International Symposium of Antiquities Recovery" which was held in the sidelines of the National Recovered Antiquities have stressed the Kingdom's keenness and attention to preserve and protect antiquities.

They also referred to antiquities as a "Part of Nation's Identity" and that taking them out of their original place is considered an aggression against nation's culture.

On behalf of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques the seminar was opened by His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz President of SCTA in King Abdul Aziz Hall, King Abdul Aziz Historic Center in Riyadh.

The symposium was attended by a large number of national and intentional figures specialized in the field of antiquities recovery.

Symposium participants have further stated: "Cooperation efforts on this regard are carried out by several organizations for antiquities and cultural heritage preservation across the world, curbing smuggling and illegal trading of antiquities as well as recovering them to their original countries."

They also stressed on the importance of antiquities registry by creating database to contain all relics' related information by using late technology in antiquities registry.

Dr. Fahad Al Samari, Secretary General of King Abdul Aziz Dara said:" The seminar reflects Saudi government's attention towards antiquities and the national heritage and its keenness to preserve them and recover all illegally taken antiquities."

During his chairmanship of the symposium's first session, Dr. Al Samari also stated:"Holding this seminar and inviting a number of international figures engaged in the antiquities recovery field are emphasizing the future vision of the SCTA regarding such important issue.

The event basically aims to highlight the antiquities' matter which had illegally been taken out their original countries because of their historic and cultural importance for their countries of origin.

Dr. Zyad Al Drees, the Kingdom envoy to UNESCO talked about the Kingdom diplomatic mission's prospective role and the efforts that could be made by the Saudi permanent mission in UNESCO for antiquities' recovery.

In his speech, he referred to the supportive role of the international organizations regulations in this regard which contributes in the accelerating of mutual agreements between member countries in the antiquities' recovery efforts.

Dr. Mohammad Al Zahabi, the Egyptian envoy to UNESCO highlighted Egyptian experience in antiquities recovery by saying that Egypt had recovered 15.000 archeological items during the past ten years.
To recover these antiquities, Egypt had adopted a plan of three  stages; the first stage was to raise awareness among citizens on the importance of antiquities, the second was to put the laws that prohibiting antiquities trading into effect and the third stage was to register antiquities and build up database for antiquities that include all information related to archeological items by using late technologies in antiquities' registry.

Dr. Al Zahabi has drawn attention to the importance of mutual and mulit-party agreements for cooperation in the field of archeology and antiquities recovery as part of the human beings' history.
Mr. Karl-Heinz, an officer at the Interpol, highlighted Interpol role in protecting antiquities as well as recovering them to their original countries. He added: "Interpol is an international organization comprising 190 member countries and has many tools enable it to fight theft of cultural properties."

Mr. Karl-Heinz further said: "Interpol in its efforts to recover antiquities worldwide has a strong communication system and international database about stolen antiquities in addition to holding conferences and workshops continuously and publishing general information on stolen cultural properties."

Noteworthy, the symposium was held within the accompanied events of the recovered national antiquities' exhibition which was opened by His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz President of SCTA on behalf of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques early last week in the National Museum in Riyadh and will continue for one month.