Foreign Minister: The need to return refugees and stolen relics

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In the protection of the cultural heritage of the wider Middle East and the Mediterranean, but also in how to ensure the return of refugees belonging to religious and ethnic communities to their ancestral homes - two points with a clear reduction "to the bitter Cypriot reality", such as Diplomatic circles noted - said the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus Ioannis Kasoulides at the beginning today in Athens of the International Conference on "Religious and Cultural Pluralism and Peaceful Coexistence in the Middle East".

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Mr. Kasoulidis, after referring in particular to the actions of the fanatical Islamists of the Islamic State who, he said, have no moral barriers and who with "perverted beliefs" systematically desecrate cultural monuments, causing a "cultural genocide" through the eradication of religious and ethnological interconnection of local populations with their regions, stressed that the illegal trade in cultural and religious relics is one of the most important sources of funding for the Islamic State.

The Foreign Minister added that the illegal trade in cultural and religious relics is one of the most systematic sources of funding for the Islamic State. And he noted here that effective ways must be found to prevent the illicit trade in these cultural treasures.

He reminded the participants that as a result of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, the large volume of Christian relics and antiquities were stolen and sold illegally around the world.

To this day, Mr. Kasoulidis added, the Republic of Cyprus is conducting legal struggles for the repatriation of the relics.

The Minister stressed that a new international legal framework is needed to ensure that the purchase and sale of cultural and religious relics from war zones cannot be considered "in good faith".

Possibly, he added, what is needed is a "dynamic resolution" of the UN Security Council that would impose universal restrictions on the sale and trafficking of cultural and religious relics from war zones, "proving the legitimacy of trade to the detriment of traders." , the auction houses and the buyers, and not the state of origin of the heirlooms ”.

Finally, Mr. Kasoulides, referring to the refugee problem, said that the international community should ensure that people who have been expelled from their ancestral homes due to their religion or origin, will return to a safe environment where the their life.

Source: KYPE