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UNITED NATIONS - The UN educational and cultural body on Tuesday called upon the government and people of Libya to "exercise their responsibility to protect cultural heritage and sites of religious significance for future generations."
"The director-general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova, expressed her grave concern on Tuesday over the destruction and desecration of Sufi shrines and libraries in the Libyan cities of Zliten, Misrata and Tripoli," UN spokesman Farhan Haq said at a daily news briefing here.
The UNESCO chief voiced her deep concerns after Islamic hardliners reportedly wrecked shrines across Libya.
Several Muslim shrines have been attacked over the recent days, including those of the mystic Sufi holy sites, according to media reports.
"Ms. Bokova called on the perpetrators to cease such destruction immediately," Haq said. "She urged the Libyan authorities and people to exercise their responsibility to protect cultural heritage and sites of religious significance for future generations."
"Ms. Bokova also welcomed the Libyan government's clear condemnation of the destruction of the sites, and said that UNESCO stands ready to provide assistance to protect and rehabilitate them," the spokesman added.