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Vassiliou says private sector must help with world heritage

Egyptian fortress high on list of threatened historic areas

18 March, 14:51
Vassiliou says private sector must help with world heritage (See related) (ANSA) - Brussels, March 18 - Safeguarding threatened world heritage sites such as Pompeii and Egypt's Citadel of Qaitbay must be a high priority for governments - but also for the private sector and individuals, European Union Culture Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou told ANSA Tuesday.

He spoke shortly after news reports that thieves had made off with an ancient fresco from Pompeii, which has for years suffered environmental damage and abuse at human hands.

Vassiliou said the EU could do more to encourage partnerships with the private sector and civil society to safeguard such sites. "We must do more to encourage public-private partnerships in support of cultural heritage," he said in an interview.

Meanwhile, he said that researchers have identified the Egyptian Citadel of Qaitbay, a defensive fortress dating from the 15th century constructed on the site of the ancient Lighthouse of Alexandria.

They say it is among the seven European sites most at risk of destruction and in need of greater protection.

"The safeguarding of assets requires a good cultural cooperation at all levels between public authorities, the private sector and civil society," he said. "It requires policy developments and initiatives to engage new audiences and engage more local communities".