Meeting between U.S., Egypt to counter smuggling antiques
Former minister of Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim - YOUM7 (Archive)
By EHAB EL-SHAZLY

CAIRO: The U.S. Department of State hosted on Wednesday a ministerial meeting between the U.S. and Egypt to discuss the protection of antiques and methods to counter smuggling, Youm7 reported.

The meeting was attended by Minister of Antiques Mohamed Ibrahim, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Anne Patterson, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Evan Ryan and Egypt’s ambassador in Washington Mohamed Tawfik, and U.S. spokesperson in charge of Near Eastern Affairs Jennifer Larson, according to Youm7.

Larson noted that the attendees discussed a number of methods of cooperation between the U.S. and Egypt to protect cultural heritage and antiques, in addition to countering smuggling, looting and trafficking of Egyptian artifacts.

During the meeting, the Egyptian representatives also asked the U.S. Department of State to reevaluate their decision to warn their citizens to leave Egypt, Youm7 reported.

Ibrahim announced Wednesday before leaving Cairo for Washington that 11 ancient antiques and coffins will be returned to Egypt from New York during a huge ceremony in April, Al-Ahram newspaper reported.

He also praised U.S. authorities for the return of the stolen and smuggled antiques, as well as the Egyptian embassy’s efforts to restore Egyptian antiques that are for sale illegally in the U.S., adding that such efforts resulted in the halting of selling 200 ancient Egyptian antiques online.

Egypt’s embassies in Germany, Belgium and Israel are also making efforts to restore a number of smuggled antiques, Ibrahim said.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) delegation that visited the Museum of Islamic Art Feb. 5 after a blast at the Cairo Security Directorate pledged aid to renovate the museum building, in a statement. The delegation agreed to an amount based on the report of a UNESCO team that inspected the damage.

Additional reporting by Bahaa el-Tawel.

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