Egypt received on Tuesday 14 antiquities from Cyprus that were stolen and illegally smuggled in the late 1980s, the Ministry of Antiquities stated in a press release.
The retrieved relics were given to Egypt on the sidelines of the Root Revival Week initiative launched by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and his Cypriot and Greek counterparts earlier this week.
Marina Solomidou-leronymidou, director of Cyprus’ Department of Antiquities, handed over the artefacts in Alexandria.
“The artefacts include a vase of alabaster decorated with the name of King Ramses II, in addition to 13 ushabti figurines and amulets of different shapes, sizes, and materials, such as those in the form of the goddesses Sekhmet, Neith, and Isis,” said Shaaban Abdel-Gawad, general supervisor of the repatriation at the Ministry of Antiquities.
For his part, Antiquities Minister Khaled Anany expressed his happiness at the return of the antiquities to their homeland, thanking the Cypriot side for “its collaboration and efforts exerted to help Egypt to retrieve those objects.”
Abdel-Gawad stated in the press release that Egypt has been working to return the stolen artefacts for over a year, after the Egyptian authorities were informed by Interpol of the seizure of these antiquities.
The stolen artefacts left Egypt after the 1983 Antiquities Protection Law was issued, arriving in Cyprus in 1986, and based on that, the Egyptian ministry succeeded “through diplomatic and legal efforts to prove its right to and ownership of these artefacts, which confirms Egypt’s right to recover them,” the statement read.
The Ministries of Antiquities, Foreign Affairs, and Justice cooperated to send an urgent judicial response to Cyprus to confirm Egypt’s right to recover the pieces, especially since Cypriot law allows antiquity trading.
Cypriot authorities approved the technical report based on the details therein proving Egypt’s ownership, and confirmed Egypt’s right to retrieve the artefacts.