A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Tunisia and the United States of America (U.S.A) on the protection of cultural property against illicit import, export and transfer of ownership, was inked on Thursday by Cultural Affairs Minister Hayet Guettat Guermazi and U.S. Ambassador to Tunisia Joey Hood during a ceremony, attended notably by Diplomatic Affairs Advisor to Prime Minister Riadh Essid.
Guermazi underscored on the occasion, the importance of this MoU as it will further foster the bilateral cooperation in the protection of cultural property against the dangers of looting, illegal excavations and export, notably of Tunisian archaeological and ethnological property, reads a ministry press release.
The inking of this document is in line with the implementation of the UNESCO 1970 Convention by virtue of which the signatory States undertake to collaborate within the framework of an international cultural cooperation, to protect the heritage of cultural property on their territories and to take the necessary measures to ban and prevent all forms of looting, illicit excavations and export, she added.
It is also underscores the willingness of the contracting parties, notably Tunisia and the U.S., to protect cultural heritage from archaeological or ethnological looting and to implement the necessary concrete measures, including the control of the export, import and international trade of the specific cultural property.
The U.S. ambassador for his part, commended the National Heritage Institute (INP) for its crucial role in drafting this MoU which will be instrumental in boosting bilateral cooperation in matters of law enforcement and in helping recover and return despoiled heritage.
This five-year MoU, he added, will help launch training and exchange programmes in the cultural heritage field in keeping with the UNESCO convention, which considers that to be effective, the protection of cultural heritage must be organised both nationally and internationally and requires close collaboration between States, and that international collaboration is one of the most effective ways of protecting their respective cultural property against all dangers.
Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse (TAP)