Memorandum submitted by the Ambassador
of the Arab Republic of Egypt
I write with reference to your Committee's inquiry,
entitled "Cultural Property: Return and Illicit Trade".
You are aware that the illegal trade, export
and smuggling of Egyptian antiquities for sale abroad are causing
substantial and irrevocable damage to Egypt's cultural heritage.
We regard the countering of this illicit trade as an absolute
priority. For this we are working closely with Scotland Yard and
the British Museum to identify miscreants and pursue cases as
they come to our attention. We have had some success recently,
but unfortunately the legal measures currently available to us
in the UK are very limited. Attached (not printed) is a
typical case study of an incident that took place last week. It
reflects the importance of your efforts and deliberations of your
I would be grateful if in its deliberations
and recommendations your Committee would take into account our
appeal that the UK ratifies the UNESCO Convention of 1970. Also,
legislation should be, urgently, introduced to make it a criminal
offence, both to import and to deal in cultural property, which
has been illegally exported (smuggled) from its country of origin.
I thank you for your consideration and look
forward to seeing your Committee's final report.