"The technical mission that I had sent from 27 February to 2 March 2007 to the Old City of Jerusalem, which is inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List and on the World Heritage in Danger List, completed its technical assessment on the works conducted on the Mughrabi pathway leading to the Haram el-Sharif. The mission has submitted to me their Report (attached below) accompanied by their recommendations, which I support," declared the Director-General of UNESCO on Wednesday, 14 March 2007.
"These are five recommendations," he added:
- The Government of Israel should be asked to comply with its obligations regarding archaeological excavations and heritage conservation in World Heritage sites such as the Old City of Jerusalem and, in particular, with Decision 30 COM.34 adopted by the World Heritage Committee in Vilnius in July 2006 on this matter.
- The Government of Israel should be asked to stop immediately the archaeological excavations, given that the excavations that had been undertaken were deemed to be sufficient for the purpose of assessing the structural conditions of the pathway.
- The Government of Israel should then clearly define the final design of the access structure, whose principal aim should be to restore the Mughrabi pathway without any major change to its structure and shape, in order to maintain the values of authenticity and integrity of the site. A clear work plan thereon should be communicated to the World Heritage Committee in the shortest possible time.
- The Government of Israel should be asked to engage immediately a consultation process with all concerned parties, in particular the authorities of the Waqf and of Jordan, the latter having signed a peace agreement on 26 October 1994, and agree upon a plan of action before taking any further action and decision thereon.
- This process should be supervised by an international team of experts coordinated by UNESCO and involving in particular structural engineers, specialized in archaeological consolidation works, in order to ensure the most appropriate solution for the restoration of the Mughrabi pathway.
Mr Matsuura has decided to send this report and its conclusions to the Presidents of the Organization's Governing Bodies, the President of the World Heritage Committee, and the Permanent Delegates to UNESCO.
The Director-General also announced his decision to convene an Information Meeting for UNESCO Member States on Monday 19 March 2007, in the presence of the expert members of the mission.