UN: Reconstruction of landmark Mosul mosque to begin in 2020

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UN: Reconstruction of landmark Mosul mosque to begin in 2020
Governor of the province Nineveh Mansour al-Mareed, left, and Iraq's Culture Minister Abdulamir al-Dafar Hamdani, center, meet UNESCO'S Director-General Audrey Azoulay at the UNESCO's headquarters in Paris, Wednesday, Sept. 11. 2019. Iraqi officials meet at the UN's cultural agency in Paris to discuss plans for an ambitious $100 million reconstruction of the Islamic State-ravaged city of Mosul. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

PARIS (AP) — The United Nations’ cultural agency says reconstruction of Al-Nouri Mosque in Iraq’s city of Mosul is scheduled to start at the beginning of next year.

UNESCO chief Audrey Azoulay says rebuilding the landmark mosque that was blown up by the Islamic State group in 2017 is one part of ambitious plans to stimulate culture and revive ravaged Mosul.

In 2014, IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared an Islamic caliphate from the mosque once famous for its leaning minaret.

Iraq’s culture minister and other Iraqi officials were with Azoulay in Paris on Wednesday as she discussed the reconstruction.

She said they’d “agreed on a timetable that would see the reconstruction start in the first semester of 2020.”

The United Arab Emirates is providing $50.4 million to help finance the work.