The Egyptian embassy in Washington DC. held a ceremony to celebrate the return of the artefacts, which Egypt received from the Internal Security Division (ISD) of the U.S. Department of Interior.
The five artefacts consist of a bronze statue of the Egyptian god Seth. They also include a carved basalt scarab beetle and a fragment of an Egyptian statue dating from 1500 to 600 BCE.
Furthermore, the returned artefacts include an enamelled fish and a falcon's head that date back to the Ptolemaic era.
In 2021, Egypt and the United States, parties to the 1970 UNESCO convention, signed a 5-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to impose restrictions on importing certain categories of Egyptian cultural property from the United States.
During the ceremony, the Egyptian Ambassador to Washington, Moataz Zahran, expressed his gratitude to the American authorities for their efforts to return these artefacts and praised the effective cooperation between Egypt and the U.S. in protecting cultural heritage.
Zahran also stressed the importance of returning these artefacts to their homeland, Egypt, as they represent a valuable and rich heritage for the country and hold great historical and cultural significance for Egyptians.
For his part, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Jeffery Darren, praised the robust Egyptian laws prohibiting the export of culturally significant items.
"These laws have streamlined and facilitated the retrieval processes and ensured that these pieces do not leave the country illegally, contributing to the protection of Egypt's cultural heritage," Darren explained.
He also highlighted the efforts of the Homeland Security Department in recovering the 5 artefacts through three investigations carried out by special agents from the National Security Investigations in Chicago, Memphis, and Cleveland.
"We are diligently investigating crimes related to illegal import, export, and distribution of cultural properties, antiquities, and art. These efforts are closely coordinated with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection across all ports in the United States," Darren stated.