The argument over artifacts between France and Egypt may finally be over. The countries have been in a standoff as the Louvre Museum debated whether to return antiques that Egypt says were stolen - or else, the country threatened, Egypt would cut all ties with the French museum indefinitely.
PARIS /Bloomberg/ -- France said it is returning to Egypt five fresco fragments acquired by the Louvre Museum, saying there were “serious doubts” about their provenance, and responding to Egyptian demands for their return. The 35-member commission overseeing France’s national museum collections unanimously agreed that the fresco fragments from the wall of a prince’s tomb must be given back. Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand has decided to return them.
The mural fragments, from the tomb of a prince of the XVIIIth dynasty, “were acquired in good faith by the Louvre in 2000 and 2003,” the ministry said. “In November 2008, following the rediscovery by archaeologists of the tomb from which the frescoes seemed to originate, serious doubts emerged as to the legality of their exit from Egyptian territory.”
Earlier this week, Egypt suspended co-operation with the Louvre, saying the Paris museum was not returning the mural paintings removed from Luxor in the 1980s. The Supreme Council of Antiquities said the Louvre was refusing to honor an agreement to give back all stolen and smuggled Egyptian antiquities to the Arab country.
Zahi Hawass, the head of the antiquities council, has been on a campaign since 2002 to recover Egyptian antiquities located abroad, including the bust of Queen Nefertiti in Berlin’s Neues Museum, which opens next week, and the Rosetta stone at the British Museum in London.
[Read More - France to Give Back to Egypt Five Artifacts Bought by Louvre | Bloomberg]