Wednesday 14 April 2010

Switzerland Signs Stolen Antiquities Agreement with Egypt

On Wednesday the Swiss government signed an agreement with the government of Egypt, represented by the Supreme Council of Antiquities on the repatriation of all illegally-obtained antiquities of Egyptian origin currently within their borders, according to a press release circulated by the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA). The Swiss government is the 16th country to sign the accord on stolen antiquities since 2002. Antiquities council chief Zahi Hawass said Switzerland's signature was particularly important as it had been a major transit point in the trade in smuggled artefacts in the past.
Over the past few years, hundreds of Egyptian objects have been repatriated from Switzerland to Egypt. They include the eye of Amenhotep III – which was stolen from a statue of the pharaoh at Luxor in 1972 then later sold to the Art Museum of Basel by a German dealer – and a variety of artefacts that entered the country via Tarek El-Sweissi, the former head of the National Democratic Party for the Giza area, who in 2003 was charged with heading a multi-million dollar antiquities smuggling ring.

Secretary General of the SCA Zahi Hawass is currently “in the process now of forming agreements with other countries.”

AFP Egypt, Switzerland sign agreement to return illegal artifacts

See also Malcolm Jack, Switzerland returns Pharaoh Akhenaton's toe to Egypt Heritage Key blog.

Photo: Switzerland becomes only sixteenth nation to agree to help Egypt recover its stolen artefacts, SCA (from HeritageKey)

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