Donors urged to guard heritage threatened by war, extremism
FILE – In this Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016 file photo, a stone tablet with cuneiform writing in the foreground as UNESCO’s Iraq representative Louise Haxthausen documents the damage wreaked by the Islamic State group at the ancient site of Nimrud, Iraq. France is trying to raise tens of millions of dollars from international donors who gathered Monday March 20, 2017, to protect cultural heritage sites threatened by war and the kind of destruction carried out by Islamic State militants. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo, File)
PARIS — France is trying to raise tens of millions of dollars from international donors to protect cultural heritage sites threatened by war and the kind of destruction carried out by Islamic State group militants.
Donors gathered Monday for a conference at the Louvre Museum aimed at building an international fund to prevent or stop destruction of historical sites. Organizers also want to create a network of sites around the world to temporarily store endangered artifacts and pay for the restoration of sites damaged by war.
France pledged $30 million toward the fund in December, and backers hope to gather an initial $100 million.
IS militants have stolen or destroyed cultural artifacts, including the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra, the Mosul museum and the 13th century B.C. Assyrian capital of Nimrud.