Following nearly three years of paperwork, Egypt has succeeded to prove its rightful ownership of a collection of Ancient Egyptian artefacts stolen and illegally smuggled out of the country.
The artefacts, currently in custody at the United States Department of Homeland Security, are due to return to Egypt next week.
“It was really very difficult to prove Egypt’s ownership of these objects,” Minister of State for Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim told Ahram Online.
Ibrahim explained that the Ministry of State for Antiquities (MSA) was not equipped with documents proving possession of the objects since they had been uncovered during illegal excavations in remote Egyptian archaeological sites during the security vacuum that followed the 2011 revolution.
Three years of diplomatic negotiations, however, during which existing ownership documents presented by the person claiming possession were proven forged, have finally yielded results with Egypt's imminent recovery of the stolen objects.
The objects in question, according to Ibrahim, were monitored by the New York customs in 2011, during a failed attempt to smuggle them inside the US. As soon as Egypt was informed of the incident, he continued, all legal procedures were taken to retrieve the objects back to the homeland.
Ahmed Ali, director of the Repatriation of Antiquities Section at the MSA, said the items include a collection of wooden painted pieces of a sarcophagus from the Late Ancient Egyptian Period; a wooden sarcophagus from the Graeco-Roman era; a collection of wooden boats from the Middle Kingdom and limestone statuettes from the Third Intermediate Period.