Baghdad, Minister of Culture, Tourism and Antiquities Hassan Nadhim stressed the need to activate the memorandum of cooperation with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The minister said during his meeting with the Saudi ambassador to Baghdad Abdul Aziz al-Shammari, according to a statement of the Ministry of Culture, which the National Iraqi News Agency (NINA) received a copy of it that “Iraq lived a period of cultural isolation in the 1990s, and today it has an opportunity to cooperate with its Arab brothers.”

He added, “The Kingdom is not far from the situation in Iraq and lives with us with the same difficulties,” adding, “UNESCO and the King Abdul-Aziz Center brought me together on many occasions with Saudi friends and colleagues to discuss confronting extremism in the Arab world, and I am interested in dealing with Saudi youth who have shown important potentials in cultural debates.”

“On the cultural level, we entered into bilateral cooperation with Saudi Arabia, as we believe that the current atmosphere of openness in the Kingdom helps open serious cultural dialogues, and we want a real practicing of the memorandum of bilateral cooperation between the two countries at the level of the Saudi ministries of culture and tourism and our ministry,” the minister added.

Nadhim indicated, during the meeting, the necessity of activating previous projects between the two countries, adding that there was a joint cultural project between the two countries in al-Qishla region on the banks of the Tigris River, which is an area with a two-kilometer extension and Arab Islamic heritage that includes the Abbasid Palace, the Abbasid School and ancient heritage legacy. The Kingdom can explore opportunities invest in that region. ”

For his part, the Saudi ambassador congratulated the minister on obtaining the confidence of Parliament for the ministry portfolio, saying, “We believe that there are three ministries in one ministry. Iraq has the right to be proud of its antiquities and its cultural legacy, and this will need a strategic plan from you.”

Al-Shammari added, “Our affiliation is one, the ties are many intertwined, our disconnection from each other greatly hurt us, too, in the Kingdom. We must benefit from the mistakes of the past, and this is the courage. We are with you in implementing any proposals to serve our relations.”

The Saudi ambassador added, “I attended our team’s friendly match with the Iraqi national team, and the king as soon as he saw the huge turnout for football and what unity is doing for the Iraqi people, he donated an entire stadium to Iraq. Culture and tourism in Saudi Arabia began to take on a wide range as a new tributary, especially in our strategic plan 2020 – 2030 “.

In turn, the Director General of the Cultural Relations Department at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Antiquities Falah Al-Ani said during the meeting, “There is privacy in dealing with Saudi Arabia. We want to transfer joint work from the government sector to the two societies and peoples, and we are able to activate many projects in the field of Arab and Islamic culture in both countries.” We have at least 45,000 manuscripts in the National Library for a joint study between the two countries.

Al-Ani added, “We are studying dealing with the Kingdom through the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, as part of cultural and archaeological projects in Mosul, and we are also thinking about inviting Saudi artists to the next Al-Wasiti Festival. ”

Source: National Iraqi News Agency

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