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Egypt’s request for the Nefertiti Bust return rebuffed

More coverage of Germany’s refusal to return the Bust of Nefertiti [1] to Egypt.

From:
Press TV [2]

Germany not to return Nefertiti bust
Wed Jan 26, 2011 5:37PM

Germany has once again refused to return the bust of Queen Nefertiti, an ancient Egyptian sculpture housed at the Neues Museum in the city of Berlin.

Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) had sent a request to the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, asking for the 3,400-year-old piece which attracts more than one million visitors every year.

The foundation, however, said it did not consider the letter an official state request as it had not been signed by Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif.

“The foundation’s position on the return of Nefertiti remains unchanged,” foundation president Professor Hermann Parzinger said in a statement. “She is and remains the ambassador of Egypt in Berlin.”

The SCA said in an email that its request had been approved by both Prime Minister Nazif and the Egyptian ministry of culture.

“This request is a natural consequence of Egypt’s long-standing policy of seeking the restitution of all archaeological and historical artifacts that have been taken illicitly out of the country,” it said.

Famed for its almond-shaped eyes and swan-like neck, the limestone bust of Queen Nefertiti – wife of the Sun King Akhenaten was found by German archaeologist Ludwig Borchardt in a tomb nearly one century ago.

Head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, Zahi Hawass, who sent a similar letter in 2009, had said before that they had documents showing that the bust was illegally exported after it was unearthed in 1912.

The Neues Museum, on the other hand claims that the bust was acquired lawfully and Egypt had no legal claim to it.

Hawass started to recover Egyptian antiquities since he took the helm of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities in 2002.

The bust of Queen Nefertiti in Berlin’s Neues Museum and the Rosetta stone at London’s British Museum have been among his top priorities.

Egypt even suspended its cooperation with the Louvre in 2009, after the Paris museum refused to return what the country charged were stolen artifacts.