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UNESCO chief hails King’s role in safeguarding Jerusalem holy sites

By JT - Mar 05,2020 - Last updated at Mar 06,2020

Director General of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay visits Luminus Technical University College on Wednesday (Photo courtesy of UNESCO)

AMMAN — UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay has commended His Majesty King Abdullah for his constructive role as Custodian of the Holy Sites in Jerusalem, as well as for his vision in aiming to ensure that Jerusalem remains a unifying city of peace and harmony for the three monotheistic religions, according to statement posted on the UN agency’s website. 

The UNESCO director general is currently undertaking her first official visit to the Kingdom from March 3 to 6.

His Majesty King Abdullah, accompanied by HRH Crown Prince Hussein, on Wednesday met with Azoulay and discussed advancing cooperation between Jordan and UNESCO, especially in safeguarding cultural heritage.

At the meeting, attended by HRH Prince Ghazi, His Majesty’s chief adviser for religious and cultural affairs and personal envoy, the King noted UNESCO’s important role in preserving World Heritage Sites in danger, especially the Old City of Jerusalem and its walls, according to a Royal Court statement. 

UNESCO, within the scope of its mandate, will work with all concerned parties to preserve the cultural heritage of the World Heritage site of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls. This site of outstanding universal value requires safeguarding in line with relevant international standards, including UNESCO’s World Heritage Convention and World Heritage Committee decisions, read the statement posted on its website.

While in Jordan, Azoulay visited the Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME), a major intergovernmental science facility in Allan, created under the auspices of UNESCO. 

It is the first synchrotron-light source in the region, and the first to be fully powered by solar energy anywhere, the statement said.

Since 2017, it has hosted research and experiments on topics such as new materials for batteries, the ancient manuscripts of Qumran and the analyses of algae. Over 185 male and female scientists from the region, including technicians, engineers and researchers at SESAME itself, have spent up to two years at synchrotron radiation facilities, acquiring first-hand experience in constructing accelerators and beamlines for synchrotron-light sources and using the technology, according to UNESCO.

SESAME also fosters scientific diplomacy by building bridges between scientists in Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Pakistan, Palestine and Turkey, the statement said.

UNESCO is supporting the Government of Jordan to ensure the safeguarding of its cultural heritage. The organisation is working closely with authorities to ensure the stability of the world-renowned site of Petra and address the ongoing threat of flash flooding in the area and develop sustainable tourism, the global agency said.

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