Two ancient Egyptian statues that were stolen and illegally smuggled out of Egypt were recovered earlier this week from Belgium.
One of the statues is carved in painted limestone and depicts a standing man from the Old Kingdom. The second is a Late Period ushabti figurine made of faience.
Shaaban Abdel-Gawad, supervisor of the Repatriation Department at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, explained that the recovery of the two statues began in 2016, when the Belgian authorities seized them from sale in an antiquities exhibition.
Their alleged owner failed to prove his possession.
In collaboration with the International Cooperation Department at the Egyptian prosecution-general and both the ministries of tourism and antiquities and foreign affairs, legal assistance was sent to the Belgian authorities, and the decision was taken to return the two statues to Egypt, Abdel-Gawad said.
In a ceremony held in Belgium when the statues were handed over to Egypt, the Egyptian ambassador to Belgium expressed the importance of the event as a tangible step forward in relations and one paving the way for further coordination on joint cooperation, especially in recovering smuggled Egyptian antiquities.
The ambassador invited Belgian citizens to visit tourist destinations in Egypt and learn more about the history of the ancient Egyptian civilisation that was built on the banks of the Nile and has long represented the achievements of science, culture, and art worldwide.