|Vice President Joe Biden (r) introduces|
President François Hollande (l) at The Met.
In his recent visit to The Met, President Hollande reflected that the idea for the fund actually originated in Japan this past May when he was with President Barack Obama at the G7 summit. Hollande’s remarks followed an introduction made by Vice President Joe Biden.
[Sidebar: When the G7 met, it published an Action Plan on Countering Terrorism and ViolentExtremism, calling on nations “to enhance efforts to hinder looting and trafficking of cultural property originating from regions under the control of terrorist groups.”]
Biden's surprise appearance at The Met generally touted White House efforts to preserve cultural heritage. He described ISIS's sale of artifacts to fund terrorism while simultaneously attacking cultural diversity in the Middle East, which the vice president called an affront to the people of the region. Biden asserted that trafficking laws targeting antiquities are rigorously enforced.
Hollande’s proposed cultural preservation fund is expected to be a joint project between France and the United Arab Emirates, which is why H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs, was on hand for Hollande’s pronouncement. The pair are expected to lead a conference on cultural heritage protection at the Louvre Abu Dhabi in December.
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