Egypt to sign deal with US to ban selling antiquities: Ibrahim
Former minister of Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: Minister of Antiques Mohamed Ibrahim said Tuesday that Egypt is determined to restore all of its ancient antiquities from across the world, whether by law or direct conventions.

During an interview with Al-Arabiya Al-Hadath, Ibrahim said during the next four months a convention would be signed to ban the selling of smuggled antiquities in the United States, noting that antiquities sold since 1983 under legal conditions cannot be restored.

Two-hundred and sixty antiquities have been restored from abroad, including antiquities from the United States, France, Denmark and Italy, said Ibrahim. Cyprus and Greece are cooperating with Egypt to restore smuggled antiques as well as Germany, Belgium, and Israel .

Ibrahim added that his last visit to the United States consisted of a discussion about  cooperating with U.S. authorities to restore eight antiquities to Egypt, including ancient Egyptian coffins.

The Ministry of Antiquities seeks the change of Egypt’s conventions with UNESCO regarding the restoration of smuggled antiques abroad, Ibrahim said.

On March 12, the U.S. Department of State hosted 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, Egypt’s ambassador in Washington Mohamed Tawfik, and the U.S. spokesperson in charge of Near Eastern Affairs Jennifer Larson, according to Youm7.

On March 12, Ibrahim thanked U.S. authorities for the return of 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 preventing the sale of 200 ancient Egyptian antiquities online, Al-Ahram newspaper reported.

The minister appealed to businessmen and company owners to help the ministry with donations in order to implement the plan for protecting antiquities and museums, noting that the state does not have a budget for the Ministry of Antiquities.

Additional reporting by Bahaa el-Tawel.

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