Thursday, February 16, 2006

Diplomacy helps Ethiopia regain its historical landmark

Read the full article in the Angola Press.

Italy has returned Ethiopia`s 1,700-year-old obelisk that was looted by dictator Benito Mussolini in 1937, and the Italian government is paying for restoring the 24-metre tall granite, weighing 150 tons, at its original site of Axum in the northern Ethiopian region of Tigray. According to BBC News, "The Axum obelisk is regarded as one of Ethiopia's national religious treasures."

The return and restauration of the obelisk "is a very difficult and unprecedented operation," said Francesco Bandarin, director of UNESCO World Heritage Centre, which is coordinating the restoration in collaboration with Ethiopia`s culture and tourism ministry. "The engineering process is based on the philosophy of `zero risk` for the obelisk to be reinstalled in its former place and intact. We have to make sure the site is not damaged," Bandarin told journalists in Addis Ababa.

The peaceful resolution of a half century old dispute between nations is a great example of UNESCO's role in international cultural affairs.

No comments: