Baroness Tessa Blackstone on Preservation of Iraq's Historical Monuments

Baroness Tessa Blackstone, Britain's Minister of State for Culture and Arts, hopes, with all her heart, that the military action in Iraq does not damage the archeological and cultural monuments on Iraqi territory.

Hopefully, "when the military action is over, my office and other British organisations specialising in archeology and having associated knowledge will help restore monuments in Iraq," the baroness told journalists after a meeting with St. Petersburg Governor Vladimir Yakovlev. "We will try to preserve Iraq's rich archeological values and make them accessible for many people." "We will do this together with the Iraqis," she stressed.

Earlier, State Hermitage Director Mikhail Piotrovsky told RIA Novosti that bombing Iraq meant "bombing the history of the planet." According to his words, Iraq possesses some absolutely unique antiquities, which he said "might be damaged during the war." On March 31, Russian Culture Minister Mikhail Shvydkoi met with US Ambassador to Russia Alexander Vershbow to raise the question of preserving the cultural monuments and archeological heritage that could be destroyed by the allied forces in Iraq.

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