UN: Reconstruction of landmark Mosul mosque to begin in 2020

FILE - In this July 4, 2017, file photo, fleeing Iraqi civilians walk past the heavily damaged al-Nuri mosque as Iraqi forces continue their advance against Islamic State militants in Iraq's Old City of Mosul. 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 2020. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)
Iraq's Culture Minister Abdulamir al-Dafar Hamdani, left, is welcomed by 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) HAMDANI
Governor of the province Nineveh Mansour al-Mareed, left, UNESCO'S Director-General Audrey Azoulay , center, and Iraq's Culture Minister Abdulamir al-Dafar Hamdani attend a media conference 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)
Iraq's Culture Minister Abdulamir al-Dafar Hamdani, left, and Governor of the province Nineveh Mansour al-Mareed, right, are welcomed by 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)
Iraq's Culture Minister Abdulamir al-Dafar Hamdani, left, is welcomed by 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) HAMDANI
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 — The United Nations' cultural agency says reconstruction of Al-Nouri Mosque in Iraq's old city of Mosul is scheduled to start at the beginning of next year.

UNESCO chief Audrey Azoulay says rebuilding the landmark mosque once famous for its leaning minaret is part of ambitious plans to stimulate culture and revive ravaged Mosul.

Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared an Islamic caliphate from the mosque in 2014. IS militants blew it up as Iraqi troops neared in 2017.

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.

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