Six countries, including the Republic of Cyprus, intend to sign next week the “Nicosia Convention” on Offences relating to Cultural Property, while six more have expressed satisfaction with the legal text.
According to diplomatic sources in Nicosia, Greece is among the countries that contemplate signing the treaty, along with Ukraine, Armenia, Belgium and Mexico, a country with observer status at the Council of Europe (CoE).
The Convention will open for signatures during the 127th Session of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, on Friday, May 19, in Nicosia. It aspires to be the only international treaty that provides criminal sanctions for offences involving cultural property.
The treaty will be open for signature to any country in the world, and will not be limited to CoE member states, due to the transnational nature of crimes. After the signing, each state also needs to ratify the Convention.
Among the countries that are positively disposed are Russia, the Netherlands, France and Germany, but according to CNA sources, they appear hesitant to sign because internal processes that are required have to be completed.
The same sources note the remote possibility of Turkey signing the Treaty. Ankara will be represented at the Ministerial meeting, possibly by its Permanent Representative in Strasbourg. It is expected that 33 Ministers or their representatives will attend the meeting here, while the remaining member states will be present at a lower level of representation.
Nicosia, according to the same sources, expects more countries to conclude their relevant internal processes soon, in order to sign the Convention, since all seem to admit the seriousness of the crimes, such as illicit trafficking conducted by the so-called Islamic State.
Cyprus currently holds the Chair of the Council of Ministers of the 47-member organization, and will be handing on May 19 the Chairmanship to the Czech Republic.
During the Ministerial Session, participants are also expected to adopt new guidelines to improve the support, information and compensation provided to victims of terrorist attacks.
The meeting on May 19 will be addressed by the President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades. After a family photo, participants are expected to attend the Ceremony of Opening for Signature of the Council of Europe Convention on Offences relating to Cultural Property./IBNA
Source: Cyprus News Agency