Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Diplomatic battle rages at UNESCO over Russia meeting

A dispute has erupted at the UN cultural agency over Russia’s hosting of its World Heritage Committee in just two months, which Western nations say they will boycott over the invasion of Ukraine. Russia is due to host the annual meeting of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee in the city of Kazan in its Tatarstan region from June 19-30. The meeting is notably tasked each year with deciding which sites and monuments will be given the organisation’s coveted World Heritage status — and which could be stripped of the label if countries have fallen short on looking after them. (https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/diplomatic-battle-rages-at-unesco-over-russia-meeting/ar-AAWbk2s) The meeting is one of the few international events that Russia is still scheduled to host after President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, which according to UNESCO has caused damage to almost 100 cultural sites. But in a sign of the West’s difficulties in building a broad international coalition against Moscow, the campaign to strip Kazan of its right to host the event is proving an uphill battle. Just a week before official invitations are set out, the mainly Western nations opposing Russia’s right to host the event are racing against the clock to try to convince the committee to find another venue and strip Russia of its presidency of the group.

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