The Kingdom Hands Over Iraq Historical Documents that have been Seized with an Arab Resident



The Kingdom Hands Over Iraq Historical Documents that have been Seized with an Arab Resident
Handed Over by the Deputy Chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage to the Iraqi Ambassador in Riyadh 
 
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, represented by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, has handed over historical documents to the Republic of Iraq. 

Deputy Chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage Mr. Rustom bin Maqboul Al Kbeissi handed over the documents to His Excellency the Ambassador of Iraq to the Kingdom Doctor Qahtan Taha Khalaf on Wednesday, Rabi I 9, 1441 hijri, corresponding to November 6, 2019 at the hospitality hall at the National Museum at the King Abdulaziz Historical Centre in Riyadh. 

An Arab national residing in the Kingdom was in possession of the seized documents that he had received in illegal methods and published some of them online. 

In his speech on the occasion, Kbeissi stressed the Kingdom’s keenness to return documents and historical and archaeological pieces to their respective counties, where the Kingdom is equally keen on retrieving Saudi documents and pieces from other countries as stipulated in international agreements. 

He also expressed appreciation for the commission’s partners in the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the attorney general office for their efforts in seizing these documents and embarking on procedures necessary to return these documents to their indigenous country. 

He stressed that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is completely keen on protecting international cultural possessions for their being a joint human legacy that serves the entire mankind, adding that this occasion is part of the Kingdom’s keenness and interest in maintaining the world heritage, for its being a main partner with all in terms of protecting cultural property and returning them to their indigenous countries.  



He also said that the Kingdom always work for applying agreements related to this field, including international agreements that the Kingdom has signed and joined officially, such as the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, which was signed in 1970.

He added: “We in the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage are proud in retrieving a big number of archaeological pieces and documents from several brotherly and friendly countries under this agreement, and we highly appreciate their constructive cooperation as we are also proud of returning these documents to the brotherly Iraq.”

He noted that it is the third time that the Kingdom hands over cultural property to the Republic of Iraq, where stakeholders delivered archaeological pieces during 2009 and 2010 in cooperation with partners, which highlights the importance of preserving the global heritage and the Kingdom’s keenness on applying all relevant international agreements. 

Kbeissi, concluding his speech, conveyed the greetings of His Excellency Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage Mr. Ahmad Al Khateeb​ and his appreciation for the efforts of all stakeholders. 

For his part, His Excellency Iraqi Ambassador in the Kingdom Doctor Qahtan Taha Khalaf, praised the efforts of the commission and its partners in returning the third group of historical documents to Iraq, stressing that this is part of the distinguished brotherly relations between the two brotherly countries. 

In his speech, he said that these unique moments today highlight the deep-rooted brotherly ties between Iraq and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where the Kingdom sends back a group of historical documents that constitute part of the rich Iraqi heritage that has been subject to systematic looting, where specialised Saudi authorities have managed to find and preserve them until returning them to the Iraqi people. 

The Iraqi government and people offer their gratitude and appreciation to the Saudi leadership and people for their high sense of responsibility and keenness to preserve the Iraqi cultural heritage, which is not strange on the Kingdom’s leadership and people that is known for its authentic honesty and brotherhood features. 

He added that this occasion renews Iraq’s desire to develop cultural cooperation with the Kingdom through organising an exhibition for historical heritage in each countries and archaeological cooperation in excavation, research and personnel development, in addition to what Iraq needs from support in the field of maintaining and rehabilitating its national antiquities that terrorist Daesh has vandalised, in attempts to damage to Iraqi cultural heritage, mainly in areas that had fallen under Daesh control of the dear Iraq, to be specific the Nineveh Governorate and Mosul City.  



We hereby call on specialists in antiquities and museums in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to help their brothers in the Iraqi museums commission to maintain the Iraqi cultural property in freed areas and cooperate in all fields in a way that realise goals of preserving this valuable human heritage. 

I reiterate my gratitude and appreciation to His Excellency Mr. Rustom bin Maqbul Al Kbeissi, the deputy chairman for the antiquities and museums sector and to all gentlemen who contributed to returning these historical documents. 

The documents include 250 papers that date back to the early 1940 and are owned by the books and documents house in Iraq, and are related to the royal family in that era, where they were confiscated inside Saudi Arabia’s territories with the cooperation and efforts of the commission’s partners in the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the office of the attorney general, where these documents  have put in custody before embarking on taking the procedures necessary for returning them to their indigenous country. 

Handing over these documents is an implementation of the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, which was signed in 1970.

This is the third time that the Kingdom hands over cultural property to the Republic of Iraq, out of the Kingdom’s keenness to preserve the international heritage and execute international agreements in this regard.