Publication Date: 
Sun, 2011-06-12 18:55

The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) decided to exclude Jeddah’s nomination from a meeting of the International Heritage Committee to be held in Bahrain in July, Okaz reported quoting UNESCO’s Kingdom representative Ziyad Al-Dirais.
The representative said the dismissal of the Kingdom’s application was purely down to technical reasons, as Jeddah’s historical sites had been subjected to negligence and misuse from people who did not recognize its value. He said the negligence had greatly influenced ICOMOS’ decision.
Al-Dirais said the old and historic Jeddah district was still in need of more care and attention despite the efforts exerted by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities and its chairman Prince Sultan bin Salman.
He said the Kingdom’s plan to rehabilitate the historic sites within two to three years was not enough. “We have to have a longer-term plan in order to be able to rehabilitate and maintain the historic locations,” he said.
Al-Dirais also said the local governorate and municipality needed to exert greater efforts. “We hope to correct the situation and to nominate Jeddah once again with UNESCO as a potential world heritage site,” he said.
Al-Dirais, however, did not hide his disappointment over UNESCO’s decision, describing it as “unfair.”
“If the plan is to operate the site, protect it and use it as a tourist attraction, it will be ready for registration with UNESCO as a world heritage site,” he said.
He said the UNESCO’s world heritage committee would not meet again for two to three years, giving the Kingdom ample time to revise the file for Jeddah and avoid all the technical errors that caused its rejection in the first place.
Saudi Arabia has registered Madain Saleh as its first archaeological site in 2008 and Al-Darayia in 2010. Both files met all of UNESCO’s requirements.

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