April 8, 2005

Date set for return of Axum Obelisk

Posted at 11:08 am in Similar cases

After extensive delays the Axum Obelisk is finally going to be returned to Ethiopia by Italy next Monday. Albeit a long time after the 1947 agreement was signed where Italy agreed to return all property looted from Ethiopia by Mussolini.


Ethiopia to get obelisk back
04/04/2005 21:30 – (SA)
Addis Ababa – Italy will return to Ethiopia the first piece of the ancient Axum obelisk on April 11, a government spokesman said Monday, ending a dispute over the religious monument taken to Rome 70 years ago.

The top piece of the 1 700-year-old obelisk will leave Rome by cargo plane on April 10 and be flown directly to Axum, Ethiopian foreign ministry spokesperson Solomon Abebe said.

“The first part of the Axum obelisk will be returned to Ethiopia early on April 11,” he said.

The obelisk has been cut into three pieces, the top one weighing 40 metric tons.

In 1937, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini ordered the seizure of the 25m obelisk from the religious city of Axum, 850km north of the capital, Addis Ababa. The monument was erected in downtown Rome as a war prize from Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia in 1935.

Italy has agreed to pay for the transport of the 160-metric ton obelisk by cargo plane and reconstruct it at its original site in Axum.

Italy signed a pledge to the United Nations in 1947 to return all of the property plundered from Ethiopia, but has so far not followed through. The obelisk was damaged by lightning in 2003, which sent several large chunks at the top to the ground.

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