Cairo: Egypt today announced that it has cut
all cooperation with France`s Louvre Museum until it secures
the return of "stolen" Pharaonic antiquities in the latest row
involving the exhibits of a major European institution.
"We made the decision to end any cooperation with the
Louvre until they return" the works, antiquities chief Zahi
He charged that the renowned Paris museum had bought the
antiquities in 1980 even though its curators knew they were
"The purchase of stolen steles is a sign that some
museums are prepared to encourage the destruction and theft of
Egyptian antiquities," Hawass said.
The decision to suspend cooperation will affect
conferences organised with the museum, as well as work carried
out by the Louvre on the Pharaonic necropolis of Saqqara,
south of the capital Cairo.
French sources said that the antiquities Egypt was
demanding were decorative fragments from a tomb in the Valley
of the Kings near Luxor, which had been acquired in a
"transparent" manner by the Louvre.
"Everyone is working to try and make it possible to
return the pieces to Cairo once a legal framework has been
found," one French source said.
Hawass said the decision to cut ties had been taken two
months ago, implying that it had nothing to do with Egyptian
unhappiness over the defeat of Culture Minister Faruq Hosni in
the race to become the new director of the UN Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) last month.