Education Minister, UNESCO Director-General discuss cooperation

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Paris, SANA – Education Minister Hazwan al-Waz met on Wednesday Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Irina Bokova, and discussed with her means of expanding and developing cooperation with the organization.

During the meeting, which was held on the sideline of the 38th session of the UNESCO General Conference currently being held in Paris, al-Waz noted that Syria has fulfilled its obligations towards the organization despite the difficult circumstances.

He stressed the need for opening a UNESCO office in Damascus, reviewing the various joint projects carried out by Syrian state establishments in cooperation with the UNESCO, as well as reviewing the status of the educational process in Syria.

The Minister noted that terrorist acts have put over 5,000 schools out of commission, and currently 17,486 schools are accommodating around 4.25 million students.

Al-Waz also lauded the UNESCO’s positions regarding cultural issues, saying that Syrian authorities are coordinating with the Interpol to recover stolen Syrian relics, and that Syria wants to launch the organization’s United4Heritage initiative on the national level.

For her part, Bokova said that the UNESCO field office in Beirut is tasked with following up on the organization’s activities in Syria, and that budget constraints are hindering deployment on the ground in Syria at the current time.

She asserted that the organization is committed to combating terrorism and extremism and curbing illicit trade in heritage, lauding the relations between the UNESCO and Syria.

The 38th session of the UNESCO General Conference kicked off on Tuesday in Paris and will continue until November 18th. Minister al-Waz is heading the Syrian delegation attending the conference.

Hazem Sabbagh

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