Strengthening of cooperation and involvement of Organization in facilitation of Ukrainian efforts in protection and preservation of cultural heritage of Ukraine in the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, prevention of destruction of the most valuable historic heritage of Crimean Tatar people - Khan Palace in Bakhchysarai, became the main topic of the visit of Sergiy Kyslytsya, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chairperson of the National Commission of Ukraine to UNESCO to UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on March 6.
Several events, organized during this visit, were dedicated to this issue, in particular the presentation held at the Embassy of Ukraine to France by the last legitimate Director General of the Bakhchisaray Historical, Cultural and Archaeological Museum-Reserve officially appointed in pre-occupation period – Elmira Ablialimova, with participation of S. Kyslytsya.
Within the framework of the visit the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Chairperson of the National Commission of Ukraine to UNESCO Sergiy Kyslytsya met with Director General of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay. During this meeting, they discussed key directions of cooperation between UNESCO and Ukraine. Special attention has been paid in particular to the establishment of mechanism of direct monitoring of the situation in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea within the scope of UNESCO’s mandate as well as to the necessity of keeping the issue of Crimea on the list of priorities of the Executive board of the Organization. Within this context, both sides agreed on necessity to submit for consideration of the 204-th session of this governing body of UNESCO (Paris, 4-17 April 2018) a draft decision which would envisage the report of Director General on the situation on the occupied peninsula as well as on the progress in the implementation by the Secretariat of UNESCO of an appropriate monitoring mechanism. Another important topic discussed by S.Kyslytsya and A.Azoulay was the urgent need for an effective response of UNESCO to the challenges to preservation of cultural heritage, sites of national significance of Ukraine and Crimean Tatar people, with a particular emphasis on the situation with Khan’s Palace in Bakhchysarai which was included in 2003 to the Tentative World Heritage List of, with a view to its further nomination to the World Heritage list.
Discussion over the establishment of direct monitoring of the situation in Crimea within the mandate of the UNESCO was continued in the framework of the separate meeting between Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chairperson of the National Commission of Ukraine to UNESCO Sergiy Kyslytsya, Permanent Delegate of Ukraine to UNESCO Oleh Shamshur and representatives of «Group of friends of Ukraine» which consists of the Heads of Permanent Delegations of EU, UK, Estonia, Lithuania, France, Federal Republic of Germany, Sweden and US. Members of the «Group of friends» reconfirmed their continuing support to Ukraine both within Executive board and beyond it.
The presentation on the issues of protection of cultural heritage in the temporarily occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol delivered by Ms. Elmira Ablialimova the last legitimate Director General of the Bakhchisaray Historical, Cultural and Archaeological Museum-Reserve before occupation has become key topic of the special event which was held at the Embassy of Ukraine in France on Tuesday, March 6, 2018. The event was attended by representatives of the UNESCO Secretariat, the World Heritage Center, ICOMOS, and Permanent Delegates of member states to UNESCO. The participants were presented detailed facts that describe the threat of the destruction of the Khan's Palace, a symbol of the Crimean Tatars, as a result of the barbaric so-called restoration works carried out by the occupation authorities of the Crimea. By using a significant historical data, it was convincingly proved that Khan's Palace is a unique monumental ensemble belonging to the history of Europe, and therefore all countries of the continent and UNESCO as a whole must unite efforts to counteract the cultural genocide that Russia consciously and systematically carries out in the temporarily occupied territory of the peninsula.
Chairperson of the National Commission of Ukraine for UNESCO S. Kyslytsya and Permanent Delegate of Ukraine to UNESCO O.Shamshur stressed the need to support our state by uniting the efforts of the Organization and the partner countries in counteracting the terrible consequences of occupation to Ukraine's cultural heritage, as well as to cultural heritage and national monuments of particular importance for the Crimean Tatar people.