Antiquities repatriation committee convenes over probe into Louvre trafficking of Egyptian artefacts

Nevine El-Aref , Sunday 5 Jun 2022

The National Committee for the Repatriation of Stolen and Smuggled Antiquities met Sunday to discuss several issues, chief among which was the latest work to repatriate stolen and illegally smuggled antiquities.



Shaaban Abdel-Gawad, supervisor general of the Antiquities Repatriation Department, said that the committee discussed the ongoing investigation by French authorities into the former president of the Louvre Museum in Paris.

Almost two weeks ago, the former president was charged with conspiring to hide the origin of Egyptian archaeological treasures that investigators suspect were spirited out of the country during the 2011 Revolution, a French judicial source told the AFP.

The committee noted that the government has been following up the issue with French authorities since 2020, when the case was first brought before a French judge, adding that the government would continue to take all necessary procedures to retrieve any artefact proven to have left the country illegally.

He pointed out that Egypt has in recent years succeeded in recovering 5,000 artefacts from the US, 115 from France, and 36 from Spain.

During the meeting, the committee also reviewed preparations for the international conference titled "Cairo for the Protection of Cultural Heritage: Global Measures to Disrupt Chains of Illicit Trafficking and Protect Cultural Property," which Egypt will host in cooperation with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNESCO and ISESCO.

The committee is chaired by Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled El-Enany.

Other members include former Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass and representatives from the foreign and justice ministries, Public Prosecution and other concerned authorities.

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