Cablegate: Usunesco: May 13 Unesco Conference of Donors For

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: USUNESCO: May 13 UNESCO Conference of Donors for
the Protection and Preservation of Cultural Heritage in

Ref: STATE 88192 (notal)

1. Summary: During the Conference of Donors for the
Protection and Preservation of Cultural Heritage in Kosovo
organized by UNESCO, donors pledged US$10 million, including
U.S. $1 million from the United States, for the restoration,
protection and enhancement of Christian and Islamic
monuments and traditional secular buildings in Kosovo. End

2. The May 13 donors conference, organized by UNESCO in
collaboration with the United Nations Interim Administration
Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), the Council of Europe and the
European Commission, brought together over 50 Member States
and 15 foundations and nongovernmental organizations. Donors
pledged a total of $10 million for the restoration,
protection and enhancement of Christian and Islamic
monuments and traditional secular buildings in Kosovo that
were damaged or in need of emergency restoration. The main
donors -- besides the European Commission, which had already
allotted Euros 2 million, and the Provisional Institutions
of Self Government of Kosovo, which already allotted Euros
5.7 million -- were: the Czech Republic, France, Germany,
Greece, Hungary, Italy, Sweden, Turkey and the United
States. Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Netherlands
and Portugal, as well as three NGOs, pledged technical
assistance. Other UNESCO members expressed their intention
to contribute financially after they have studied the
proposals contained in the working document provided to them
and whose quality they praised. Louise Oliver, the U.S.
Ambassador to UNESCO, announced a pledge of $1 Million on
behalf of the U.S. government.

3. Ambassador Oliver delivered talking points (reftel) and
added: "This pledge represents a large increase in U.S.
assistance and reflects our continued commitment to cultural
preservation in Kosovo. Since 2000, the U.S. Mission in
Pristina has contributed nearly $100,000 to various cultural
projects, including monument preservation, restoration of
historic manuscripts, and a joint project with Kosovo's
Ministry of Culture to develop an inventory system for the
management of cultural heritage sites."

4. Participants agreed on the need to consider Kosovo's
cultural heritage as a whole and not to fund its
conservation on the basis of religious or ethnic criteria.
To this end, the Director-General of UNESCO suggested that
UNESCO -- in close cooperation with the Council of Europe,
the European Commission, UNMIK and representatives of the
member states concerned -- develop an action plan mapping
out priorities and measures for the protection and
restoration of Kosovar cultural heritage. The DG also
announced that following the recent cooperation agreement
between Kosovo Provisional Institutions and the Serbian
Orthodox Church, the European Agency for Reconstruction will
begin spending the Euros 2 million earmarked last autumn for
the restoration of churches damaged or destroyed during the
violence of March 2004.

5. Attending the meeting were Vuk Draskovic, Foreign
Minister Affairs of Serbia and Montenegro; Blendi Klosi,
Albanian Minister of Culture, Youth, and Sports for Albania;
Petko Draganoov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of
Bulgaria; Soren Jessen-Petersen, Special Representative of
the UN Secretary General and Head of the UN Interim
Administration Mission in Kosovo; Gabriella Battani-Dragoni,
of the Council of Europe; Fabrizi Barbasa, Acting Director
General for Enlargement, of the European Commission;
Koichiro Matsuura, the Director General of UNESCO; and Goran
Svilanovic, former Foreign Minister of Serbia and Chair of
the Stability Pact.

6. Controversy in the conference room: After lunch the
Ambassador for Serbia-Montenegro expressed outrage at the
distribution of a brochure that "rewrote" history,
attributing Serbian-built monuments to Albanian culture.
The document was not officially distributed by any
delegation, but was quickly associated with a member of the
UNMIK delegation, Astrit Haraqija, the Minister of Culture
of Kosovo. Apparently, the document was prepared in Kosovo
for this conference. The Minister had not informed his
delegation, nor anyone else of the 20 copies of the brochure
that he had brought. Mr. Soren Jessen-Petersen took the
floor to say he was sorry for the distribution of the
document which he retracted and asked to recuperate all
copies (they managed to recuperate 13 copies).

7. After a press conference held at UNESCO the same day, a
Swiss journalist approached Ambassador Oliver to express
surprise in the US financial support of cultural heritage.
When asked to comment further, the Ambassador referred the
journalist to her statement: "The preservation of cultural
heritage is something all our countries and organizations
can and should support," while emphasizing that the U.S.
views the preservation of cultural heritage as a priority.

8. Comment: This Swiss journalist's remark points out the
U.S. can really gain points when its involvement in cultural
preservation is made public, and UNESCO is the perfect place
to showcase US bilateral initiatives in this area. We
would appreciate assistance in identifying and promoting
other relevant and timely USG programs and initiatives in
this area.


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