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Westerwelle says Nefertiti stays in Berlin
Object of desire - Nefertiti in the Neues Museum in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Westerwelle says Nefertiti stays in Berlin

Published: 23 May 2010 10:05 GMT+02:00
Updated: 23 May 2010 10:05 GMT+02:00

Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has approached the delicate matter of the Nefertiti bust while on an official visit to Egypt, telling his counterpart the statue would not be moved.

Egyptian calls for the bust to be returned have increased recently, while it has been re-housed in Berlin’s Neues Museum, forming the centrepiece of the Egyptian collection in the German capital.

Westerwelle concentrated on the argument that the bust, said to be more than 3,000 years old, could be damaged if moved. It is “in the interest of human cultural heritage” that it not be put at risk, he said during a visit to Cairo on Saturday.

Zahi Hawass, Egyptian head of antiquities, has repeatedly warned that he intends to submit an official bid for the statue to be returned. This was not mentioned by Egyptian foreign minister Ahmed Abdul Gheit during the meeting with Westerwelle.

“We will reach a settlement which is satisfactory for both sides,” said Gheit.

The German argument is that the bust was fairly obtained by the German Orient Association, which was splitting up a collection of finds with Egyptian authorities.

It was among a number of artefacts excavated by archaeologist Ludwig Borchardt in 1912 – the artefacts were split into two groups and the Egyptians offered the choice of which ones to keep.

Hawass and many Egyptians say his predecessors, who chose the collection of artefacts which did not include the Nefertiti bust, were conned by the Germans.

Even Gheit could not hide his frustration at the situation where he said the greater part of Egyptian history is reflected in objects which are in European or American museums.

“There is also the desire in Egypt among my countrymen to learn about their history first hand,” he said.

Westerwelle is due to meet Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak on Sunday for talks about the chances of reviving the Middle East peace process. Westerwelle is then scheduled to visit Jordan and Syria to discuss the same matter with leaders there.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:34 May 23, 2010 by pepsionice
Turn it over....or face the wrath of Egypt.
13:04 May 23, 2010 by HANNIBAL-BARCA
THE GREAT IRONY OF THIS MINOR IMPASSE IS THAT THE SPECIOUS BUST OF NEFERTITI, IS NO MORE AUTHENTIC THAN THE ARAB POPULATION OF EGYPT (N. AFRICA) CLAIMING TO BE THE DESCENDANTS OF THE ORIGINAL (NARMER, MENES, SPHINX, RAMSEES ET AL) EGYPTIANS. A TRAGIC COMEDY LIFE REALLY IS.
09:10 May 24, 2010 by Max Grollmus
Then perhaps Egypt should return the city of Alexandria to Greece. Absurd!
18:21 May 24, 2010 by Prufrock2010
The only interesting thing about the article is that Guido is trying to revive the Middle East peace process. With him and his big mouth in the picture, we can be assured that the peace process is doomed.
20:58 May 24, 2010 by trevzns
Absurd indeed, despite the physical evidence that exist in Africa from Nubia to Cairo and not to mention in the museums around the world, the Arab and European Cultures continue their distortion and misrepresentation of African history.

The European occupation period of Egypt began when Napoleon arrived in Cairo.

The French were defeated in Egypt by the British and Turks. The Turks went on to establish control of Cairo. Mohammed Ali an Albanian officer of the Turkish forces declared himself pasha of Egypt. The British attempted to overthrow Mohammed Ali in 1807 but were defected by Albanians troops.

While reading Minter Westerwelle statement, ¦quot;In the interest of human cultural heritage¦quot; the Nefertiti bust will not be retuned to Cairo. I wondered which human cultural heritage he is referring to, the often distorted and stolen African cultural heritage?

The Arabs and Europeans living in North Africa are not the descendants of the culture responsible for building the Pyramids and Sphinx.

The present day Egyptians like other cultures around the world have no respect or appreciation for the history and accomplishments made by the African people and African descendents.

The Arab and Europeans cultures are not alone in their denial. China and Mexico have also experienced culture shock and having difficulty coming to terms with the physical evidence discovered and now displayed in their national museums, that advanced Black African cultures existed outside Africa long before the Europeans discovery the Caribbean and America credited to Christopher Columbus in 1492.

Absurd indeed, Wir sind alle Afrikaner!
02:30 May 25, 2010 by berlinski
Westerwelle is only looking for cheap publicity. He is under threat within his own party for falling popularity in the polls and he badly needs to recover from all the idiotic statements he has made about the unemployed etc.
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