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Japanese meet Egypt antiquities minister on Grand Egyptian Museum cooperation

Delegation of the Japan International Cooperation Agency meets Egypt's antiquities minister to assess progress made on the construction of the new Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza

Nevine El-Aref , Sunday 22 Dec 2013
Ibrahim with the JICA delegation
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Minister of State for Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim met on Sunday with an official delegation of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) led by Egypt office chief representative Hideki Matsunaga at the ministry's office in Zamalek.

During the meeting, Ibrahim told Ahram Online, they discussed construction of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) overlooking the Giza Plateau and future work in order to complete the museum in 2015, according to schedule.

Ibrahim asserted that he received an official letter from Minister of Finance Ahmed Galal saying that his ministry will give the Ministry of State for Antiquities the LE100 million loan it asked for, paying the MSA share in the construction work.

He also pointed out that the MSA used $90 million of the $300 million loan granted to Egypt from Japan in the third phase of the GEM construction plan.

In March, he added, the amount used in the construction will reach $150 million.

Ibrahim told Ahram Online that Matsunaga was very happy with the progress achieved and said that JICA would continue to support Egypt in protecting and preserving its heritage.

The Grand Egyptian Museum would be home to some of Egypt’s most cherished artifacts. Top attractions will include King Tutankhamun and some of the most celebrated of ancient Egypt’s kings, queens and nobles, such as Hetepheres, mother of the Pharaoh Khufu, Yuya and Thuya, the grandfathers of Pharaoh Akhenaten, and Senedjem, the principal artist of Pharaoh Ramses II.

The royal mummies and the treasures of Tanis will also be displayed. The last section, Bassir added, would be themed around religion, language, the army, death rituals and the afterlife.

Construction works include the museum building and a conference centre with an auditorium seating 1,000 that will be equipped for theatrical performances, concerts, conferences and business meetings. The main auditorium will be supplemented with seminar rooms, meeting spaces, a multi-purpose hall along with an open plan gallery for accompanying exhibitions.

Bassir said that a special section for children will be created in order to encourage young people to learn about heritage.

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