The EU’s ambassador to Egypt Ivan Surkos has reiterated the bloc’s support of Egypt’s efforts to restore smuggled artefacts.
Speaking to MENA, the diplomat underlined the importance of exchanging information to prevent the smuggling and trafficking of cultural objects and historical artefacts.
He called for all international agreements on banning the smuggling of stolen artefacts to be activated.
The diplomat’s statements came on the sidelines of a ceremony organised at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square to mark the signing of a new agreement with the EU to renovate and redesign the museum.
Last week, Egyptian officials spoke out against the planned sale of a stone bust of Tutankhamun by London-based auction house Christie’s, scheduled for 3-4 July. Officials requested to see documentation of the statue’s origins amid concerns that it may have been removed from Egypt illegally.
Asked about the matter, Surkos said he trusted that the British authorities would take all necessary measures as regards the sale.
The quartzite statue portrays the boy king as Amun, the ancient Egyptian god of the sun and air.
The ambassador also said he hoped that the project to develop the museum, which will receive 3.1 million euros in funding from the EU, will promote tourism in Egypt and contribute to achieving sustainable social and economic development.
He added that five European museums will cooperate on the project.