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France commits $30 million to protect endangered cultural heritage

Joseph Eid, AFP | A photographer holding his picture of the Temple of Bel taken on March 14, 2014 in front of the remains of the historic temple after it was destroyed by Islamic State (IS) group jihadists.

France is committing $30 million toward a new fund set up to protect cultural heritage sites during times of armed conflict.

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French President Francois Hollande announced the contribution Saturday during a conference in the Emirati capital, Abu Dhabi.

Organizers of the Safeguarding Endangered Cultural Heritage conference hope to attract an initial $100 million for the fund. It aims to prevent or stop destruction of historical sites, fight trafficking of stolen artifacts and pay for the restoration of sites damaged by war.

They also seek to create a network of sites around the world where artifacts endangered by fighting or terrorism could be temporarily stored for safekeeping.

Islamic State militants have deliberately destroyed cultural heritage sites in areas they control in Syria and Iraq.

(AP)

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