I refer to the article Ambassador To Go Over Unesco Fears (July 25), which I could not respond to before I ended my term as Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Malta to Unesco.

The title of the article and the first sentence is very misleading. The end of my term as Ambassador to Unesco has nothing to do with what the Government is doing to address the concerns of Unesco about Valletta`s World Heritage status.

This was confirmed to me verbally by a spokesman of the Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Josè Herrera.

The end of my honorary position was in line with a major change of ambassadors.

I would like to remind everyone that concern by Unesco about the changes happening in and around Valletta were being expressed since 2007. Indeed, in that year, I lost my 20-year position as executive coordinator of the rehabilitation projects following concerns I raised at the time.

In response to criticism that I had not complained to Unesco and to why Unesco is raising the issue now, I would like to clarify that I have always done my duty and reminded the Government of Malta publicly before I became ambassador and internally when I became ambassador on the need to inform Unesco about the major projects happening in Valletta.

The main issue is not the design of the projects, a discussion I will not go into, but the fact that, according to the Unesco Operational Guidelines, Malta, as a signatory to the World Heritage Convention, has to inform Unesco about major projects that could affect the `outstanding universal value` of Valletta.

Malta had sent two long memos on the subject but Unesco was not satisfied with the information it received. Unesco had requested information from the very start of the project. As ambassador, my duty was to advance the information the Government prepared and not to give my opinion to Unesco.

In fact, I did give my advice to the Government.

A comment posted online in reaction to the article criticised what I said that I am a well-known expert on heritage cities. I never claimed that I am irreplaceable as ambassador but no one can take from me my experience in the field. Indeed, before I became ambassador I was consultant to many World Heritage cities, undertook a number of evaluation and monitoring missions for Unesco and the advisory bodies and was president of the prestigious Historic Town Committee, among many other positions in the field.

I quote from a letter the Director General of Unesco, Irinia Bokova, sent to me on August 6: “I would like to thank you wholeheartedly for your tireless work to strengthen the relationship between Malta and Unesco... Your strong commitment to the preservation of cultural heritage... contributed notably to the Organisation’s advocacy and action for the long-lasting protection and conservation of the world’s culture heritage...”

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