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Reconstruction of Landmark Mosul Mosque to Begin in 2020: UN
UN: Reconstruction of landmark Mosul mosque to begin in 2020

The United Nations’ cultural agency UNESCO announced Wednesday that a landmark reconstruction of Iraq’s al-Nouri mosque in Mosul, which was blown up by the Islamic State group in 2017, will start at the beginning of next year.


The timeline of the restoration plan of the 12th-century monument, famed for its leaning minaret, was hammered out during a meeting in Paris between UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay and several Iraqi officials, including Iraqi Culture Minister Abdulamir al-Dafar Hamdani, and Mosul’s regional governor, Mansour al-Mareed.


"Today we agreed on a calendar, a precise calendar and plan of action to be mobilized on the ground in Iraq. ... The ongoing phase of structural consolidation and the critical phase of site-clearing and mine-clearing (has) to be achieved from now to the end of the year," Azoulay told reporters.


"We've also agreed on a timetable that would see the reconstruction start in the first semester of 2020 for the mosque," she added.


The UNESCO initiative goes far beyond the mere restoration of the mosque, and will see the cash be used to rebuild churches, schools and a street in Mosul's Old City, which was famous for its bookshops.


The United Arab Emirates is providing $50.4 million to finance the project, focusing on the restoration of the mosque, with the European Union providing $24 million.


The decision to select Mosul, as opposed to other Iraqi cities, for a revamp owes to its particular history as a melting pot city.


"We've chosen Mosul as a symbol because Mosul was before the conflict a city of diversity, a city of tolerance - more than tolerance - a city where people lived together and knew each other beyond communities, beyond religious belongings," Azoulay said.

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