China, Egypt sign cooperation deal on protection of heritage,cultural property

08:28, October 13, 2010      

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Egypt and China inked a cooperation deal on the protection of heritage and cultural property in Cairo on Tuesday.

Egypt's secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Zahi Hawas said the deal will help returning those antiquities which were smuggled outside both countries.

"Egypt and China are convinced of the importance of protecting their heritages and to fight antiquity theft," Hawas added.

For his part, China's director of State Cultural Heritage Administration Shan Jixiang said that Egypt and China have suffered heavily from thefts, illegal excavating and trafficking of cultural heritages.

"Thus the common destiny and obligation of our two countries serve as solid foundation of cooperation between us in the field of cultural heritage,'' Shan said.

"The agreement is not only to prevent smuggling of cultural heritages between us, but also to show our two countries' resolution to jointly protect human cultural heritages for the world," Shan added.

According to the deal, it is forbidden to export, import or transfer the ownership of cultural properties.

Also, the country has the right to ask for its stolen pieces according to the formal and diplomatic channels without violating the local laws.

"Customs in both Egypt and China should receive the information of the stolen properties to make sure they will not be smuggled abroad," the deal said.

Egypt and China have signed the UNESCO convention under which signatories can ask for the return of cultural objects found in other countries.

The UN convention signed in 1970 requires the unconditional return of any cultural properties obtained through illegal means, but items obtained prior to the signing of the treaty, regardless of how they were obtained, can lawfully be registered as national assets.



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