Pictured here are French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak during a ceremony today. The French returned some relics taken from Egypt in recent years which were purchased by the Louvre in 2000 and 2003. Egypt had made a dramatic call for the immediate return of the objects, ordering the removal of all French archaeologists from Egyptian sites if the objects were not returned. They were returned quickly.
Egypt demanded the return of the stolen fragments in October and broke off relations with the Louvre. Afterwards, France agreed to hand back the works, which are from Luxor’s Valley of the Kings. “France is particularly committed to fighting the illegal trafficking of works of art,” Sarkozy said, in a statement. The other four artefacts were to be given to the Egyptian embassy in Paris during Mubarak’s visit to Paris, French officials said. The French president emphasized that the Louvre museum had acted in good faith when it purchased the artefacts and said that doubts were only raised in November during archaeological work at the site. Egypt had produced photographs from the mid-1970s showing the fragments in place on the tomb’s wall.
- AFP: France returns stolen Louvre relics to Egypt, December 14, 2009.