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G7 Culture Ministers Discuss Threat of Cultural Trafficking

The ministers discussed the grave risk posed by "looting and trafficking at the hands of terrorist organizations and criminal networks"
By The News · 30 of March 2017 14:03:18
Canada's Culture Minister Melanie Joly (L) Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini, (C) and French Culture Minister Audrey Azoulay, meet the media during a first-ever G7 Culture ministers meeting in Florence, Italy, March 30, 2017, Canada's Culture Minister Melanie Joly (L) Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini, (C) and French Culture Minister Audrey Azoulay, meet the media during a first-ever G7 Culture ministers meeting in Florence, Italy, March 30, 2017, photo: Maurizio Degl' Innocenti/ANSA via AP

FLORENCE, Italy – During their first formal meeting ever, Group of Seven industrialized nations culture ministers have discussed the looting and trafficking of cultural treasures by extremist organizations.

The topic was on the table both during technical sessions by experts and law enforcement and during the afternoon meeting of G-7 cultural ministers and top officials on Thursday.

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova arrives for the Cultural G7, welcomed by Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini in Florence, Italy, 30 March 2017. Photo: Maurizio Degl’ Innocenti/ANSA via AP

U.S. Ambassador Bruce Wharton, acting undersecretary for public diplomacy, told reporters that the ministers discussed the grave risk posed by “looting and trafficking at the hands of terrorist organizations and criminal networks.”

He cited the pillaging of heritage sites in Timbuktu in Mali, Palmyra in Syria and the Mosul museum in Iraq, which experts are just beginning to assess after 2 ½ years in the hands of Islamic State group extremists.