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Egypt to demand Nefertiti bust's return officially

Published: 04 May 2011 08:07 GMT+02:00

State minister for antiquities Zahi Hawass said this week a letter would be sent to Germany to demand the return of the Nefertiti bust, nearly a century after it was uncovered on the banks of the Nile.

"A formal request will be sent through the Egyptian foreign ministry next week, attached with all the evidence that shows the 3,400-year-old statue was smuggled out of the country illegally," Hawass said.

Hawass had already sent a request to Germany in January in his capacity as head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, one day before the launch of anti-regime protests that led to the ouster of president Hosni Mubarak.

The German government has denied repeated Egyptian requests to have the bust back, insisting there is nothing illegal about its acquisition.

"The German government's position has not changed. Nefertiti will remain in Berlin," said a culture ministry spokesman.

Germany says the bust - unearthed in 1912 by German archaeologist Ludwig Borchardt - was bought legally by the Prussian state, and that there are documents to prove it.

Nefertiti, renowned as one of history's great beauties, was the wife of Pharaoh Akhenaton, remembered for having converted his kingdom to monotheism with the worship of one sun god, Aton.

The bust is at the top of a "wish list" of five major artefacts exhibited abroad that Egypt wants returned as part of its cultural heritage.

AFP/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

09:20 May 4, 2011 by HANNIBAL-BARCA
So on this story goes... Facts are not relevant, possession is 3/5 of the law...

Nevertheless it remains interesting that the Arabs who stole Egypt and much of the littoral of North Africa are demanding the return of a specious item stolen from them by the Europeans. In fact Germany had promised at one time to return the falsely acquired item after WWI, however, it was Hitler who reneged on this promise.

That the Germans not flat out simply refuse to return the item isn't surprising as there is no honor among thieves. The European still has designs for Africa, e.g., Libya.
11:08 May 4, 2011 by FredFinger
Good luck with that Egypt. It must be a slow week for the state minister for egyptian antiquities.
15:10 May 4, 2011 by jbaker
Is this to replace the artifacts stolen during their government uprising a couple of months ago. I read their museums were looted by insiders and no one knows how this could have happened.
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