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UNESCO warns against trade of stolen Egyptian artifacts

02-16-2011 16:36 BJT

PARIS, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Tuesday called on states, all public and private art dealers and collectors across the world to be alert following reports of some important Egyptian artifacts missing from its national museum and historical sites.

"It is particularly important to verify the origin of cultural property that might be imported, exported and/or offered for sale, especially on the internet," UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said in a statement.

"This heritage is part of humanity's history and Egypt's identity. It must not be allowed to vanish into unscrupulous hands, or run the risk of being damaged or even destroyed," she appealed.

The UNESCO head underlined that close cooperation will be established among the UN cultural arm, Interpol, the World Customs Organization (WCO), the International Center for the Study and restoration of Cultural property (ICCROM) and the International Council of Museums (ICOM) in order to avoid illicit traffic of stolen Egyptian relics.

Calling relevant parties to recover and return the missing relics to authorized caretaker institutes, UNESCO also urged necessary measures to protect Egypt's heritage sites and prevent any further thefts.

Egyptian authorities reported during the weekend that at least 17 important pieces, including a gilded wood statue of Tutankhamen being carried by a goddess, had been stolen from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and one of the museum's warehouses that had been broken into.

Editor:Du Xiaodan |Source: Xinhua

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