Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • EU leaders choose Tusk and Mogherini for top jobs, discuss Russia sanctions

    Read more

  • Dozens of UN peacekeepers still held by Syrian jihadists

    Read more

  • Opposition protesters clash with Pakistani police outside PM's house

    Read more

  • Austerity row overshadows French Socialist’s annual rally

    Read more

  • Egypt sentences Brotherhood leader Badie to life

    Read more

  • Ceasfire allows Gaza families to relax on the beach

    Read more

  • S. Africa condemns 'military coup' in Lesotho

    Read more

  • Kerry calls for 'coalition of nations' to battle IS militants

    Read more

  • Ukrainian plane with seven on board crashes in Algeria

    Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns Russia of more sanctions

    Read more

  • IMF backs Lagarde amid French corruption probe

    Read more

  • Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Suriname leader’s son pleads guilty to courting Hezbollah

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

Culture

France returns ancient relics from the Louvre to Egypt

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-12-15

French President Nicolas Sarkozy returned fragments of stolen Egyptian murals on display at the Louvre museum to President Hosni Mubarak on Monday. Egypt has stepped up demands for the restitution of many of its ancient artworks.

AFP - France's President Nicolas Sarkozy handed his Egyptian counterpart Hosni Mubarak a stolen ancient relic on Monday, ending a row between France and Egypt over artefacts taken from a Luxor tomb.
   
"Thank you very much," Mubarak said as Sarkozy presented the painted wall fragment to him, following a formal lunch at the Elysee presidential palace.
   
The small relic is one of five "steles" that were chipped off a wall painting in the ancient Egyptian tomb of Tetiky, dating back some 3,000 years to the Nile kingdom's 18th dynasty.
   
Louvre curators purchased the artefacts in 2000 and 2003 and kept them in storage at the museum.
   
Egypt demanded the return of the stolen fragments in October and broke off relations with the Louvre. Afterwards, France agreed to hand back the works, which are from Luxor's Valley of the Kings.
   
"France is particularly committed to fighting the illegal trafficking of works of art," Sarkozy said, in a statement.
   
The other four artefacts were to be given to the Egyptian embassy in Paris during Mubarak's visit to Paris, French officials said.
   
The French president emphasized that the Louvre museum had acted in good faith when it purchased the artefacts and said that doubts were only raised in November during archaeological work at the site.
   
Egypt had produced photographs from the mid-1970s showing the fragments in place on the tomb's wall.
   
A 1972 UNESCO convention states that artefacts are the property of their country of origin and pieces smuggled out of a country must be returned.
   
Cairo's antiquities department, which controls access to all of Egypt's archaeological sites, had broken off ties with the Louvre and said they would be restored once the relics were returned.
   
Egypt is stepping up demands for the restitution of many relics including the Rosetta Stone on display in the British Museum and the bust of Queen Nefertiti in Berlin's Neues museum.
   
"Everything which was stolen from us should be given back," said Zawi Hawass, the current head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, in January.
   
Museum curators purchased four of the five fragments in 2000 from the collection of French archaeologist Gaston Maspero and a fifth piece was bought in 2003 during a public sale at the Drouot auction house.
   
But Hawass had said that he believed the Paris museum bought the antiquities even though its curators knew they were stolen.
   
"The purchase of stolen steles is a sign that some museums are prepared to encourage the destruction and theft of Egyptian antiquities," he said.
   
Egypt had put on hold a series of conferences organised with the museum and suspended work carried out by the Louvre on the Pharaonic necropolis of Saqqara, south of the capital Cairo.
   
Sarkozy said the restitution of the relics reflected the "quality of relations between the two countries and the excellent cooperation in the field of archaeology."
   
In 2007, France returned hairs from an ancient pharaoh that were nearly sold on the Internet by a French postal worker whose father had acquired them during the scientific examination of the royal mummy 30 years previously.
   
The case prompted Egyptian authorities to bar foreign scientists from examining royal mummies.

 

Date created : 2009-12-14

  • ARCHAOLOGY

    Tutankhamen’s tomb to undergo a facelift

    Read more

  • ARCHEOLOGY

    Stolen Egyptian relics to be returned

    Read more

COMMENT(S)