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24.12.2009 Egypt

Egypt to aid return of Asian, African stolen artifacts

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Cairo - Egypt's antiquities chief said Wednesday he will hold a conference in the first quarter of 2010 to coordinate the strategy of African and Asian countries who had artifacts 'stolen' from within their borders.

'At the end of March we will hold a conference to meet with others who suffered like us from stolen artifacts and to discuss how to help all of us in efforts to return the stolen artifacts,' said Zahi Hawass, the secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council for Antiquities.

In an interview with the German Press Agency dpa at his Cairo office, Hawass said that to date, Egypt had managed to recover some 5,000 items it claims were illegally removed from the country.

Egypt, home of the Sphinx, the great pyramids of Giza and the Valley of the Kings, aims as part of an official 'strategy' to recover any item not legally taken out of the country over the years.

'Our strategy became a good case for everyone.... China announced they will do same as we do,' Hawass said.

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