The fate of the ancient city of Babylon is causing a diplomatic row between the Iraqi government and UNESCO – the arm of the UN responsible for preserving cultural heritage.
Archeologists say parts of the grounds have been torn up to accommodate an oil pipeline. The works are holding up the granting of world heritage status by UNESCO.
(sot A’yid Galib, Director Babylon Antiquities)
“The pipeline will jeopardise the archaeological city of Babylon,” said A’yid Galib, Director of Babylon Antiquities. “We hope that the problem can be tackled by changing the course of the pipeline so it runs outside of the city.”
Iraq’s antiquities department is suing the oil ministry demanding it remove the pipeline. The government says it needs more time.
This is not the first encroachment of the modern world on Babylon, which dates back over 4000 years.
Saddam Hussein built one of his palaces overlooking the ancient city.