Iraq has recovered more than 4,000 artefacts
Baghdad - Najla Al Taey
Baghdad has reached an initial deal with Washington on the return of more than 10,000 artefacts stolen from Iraq after the 2003 US-led invasion, a senior official said on Friday.
“We reached an initial agreement to recover more than 10 thousand Iraqi archaeological pieces that are present in the ?US, by September 2014,”? senior ministry advisor Baha al-Mayahi told Arab Today
He added “there are details to be agreed upon including registering the pieces in an electronic archive at Cornell ?University in New York,” pointing out that the agreement could be signed any moment and then ?immediately afterwards one thousand pieces will be shipped.?
“Some of these pieces that need to be electronically archived date back to Sumerian and ?Babylonian eras,” said Mayahi. The two sides agreed not to go into details about how the artefacts came to be in the United States, he added.
He pointed out that the Americans are cooperating with the Iraqi authorities and ?that more than 1500 artefacts were already returned without mentioning the total number believed to ?currently be present in the US.?
In the aftermath of the 2003 invasion, Iraq’s National Museum was subjected to massive plundering ?including the theft of thousands of priceless artefacts whilst thousands more were stolen from archaeological sites.
Mayahi said Iraq has until now recovered more than four thousand pieces that were taken ?from the museum out of 15 thousand pieces estimated to be stolen in total.
Authorities have recovered a further 130,000 artefacts stolen from elsewhere in the country, but there are still tens of thousands of pieces missing.
An official at the Iraqi Tourism Ministry said “the number of the missing pieces could open tens of ?museums around the world.”