by Dana Halawi
BEIRUT, May 11 (Xinhua) -- Sarkis Khoury, director-general of antiquities at Lebanon's Culture Ministry, emphasized Saturday the importance of the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations (CDAC) for gathering people from all over the world.
"This event gathers people from different civilizations together contrary to politics and war which divide people and create clashes," Khoury told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.
Khoury's remarks came on the occasion of the CDAC on May 15 in Beijing gathering more than 2,000 government officials and representatives of various fields from 47 Asian countries as well as other world countries and regions.
The convening of the CDAC aims at promoting exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations in Asia and the rest of the world, while encouraging these civilizations to achieve common progress.
Khoury's interview also comes on the occasion of Lebanon's participation in an exhibition that will open on May 13 at China's National Museum in Beijing, under the framework of CDAC, where several countries around the world will showcase their pieces of historical antiquities.
"We are participating in this exhibition with special antiquities that tell about the civilizations that Lebanon has gone through," Khoury explained.
Khoury emphasized the role of Lebanon as a platform that links Asia, Europe and Africa while highlighting the Belt and Road Initiative linking civilizations together.
He added that cooperation within the Belt and Road Initiative must be boosted, and Lebanon should play a greater role to benefit from the economic and tourism growth.
"As a small country, we have scientific capabilities and resources and we can create activities to benefit from this initiative even at a small scale," he said.
Khoury also noted that there is a great interest by Asian people in tourism in Lebanon and in the region. "This would help us in improving the tourism and culture sectors in Lebanon."
He praised the role played by China in the world not only on the economic and trade levels, but also on the cultural level.
"China is building strong ties with Lebanon and other countries around the world," he said.
Lebanon and China have been cooperating on the cultural level whereby Lebanon always sends groups of people from the directorate of antiquities to be trained in China.
"Chinese experts help train our people on restoring glasses and pottery pieces in addition to improving their skills in management for archeological sites," he said.
Khoury also mentioned the conservatory that will be built by China in Lebanon.
The conservatory, funded by China, will cost 31.9 million U.S. dollars. It will cover 25,000 square meters in the northern Beirut suburb of Dbayeh.