Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Greece and Italy Agree Joint Policy over the Smuggling of Antiquities

Italy's success in securing the return of antiquities from North American collections seems to be encouraging the Greek Minister of Culture, Mihalis Liapis, who is in Rome for negotiations ("Culture Minister Liapis holds talks in Rome", Athens News Agency, July 15, 2008; MiBAC Press Release). Italy and Greece signed a new memorandum of cooperation on cultural issues.

As part of the agreement the "Nostoi" exhibition will be travelling to the New Acropolis Museum, Athens in September. (Will objects recently returned from a North American private collection to Greece form part of the show?)

There will be a joint approach to the smuggling of antiquities. Liapis is quoted:
We will coordinate our efforts in a common front aiming at the protection of our cultural heritage and the return to their country of origin of all antiquities that have been stolen by antiquity smugglers.
And in a parallel statement, Sandro Bondi, the Italian Minister for Culture, commented:
Our cooperation will cover both the sector of maintenance and fighting against the smuggling of antiquities and other sectors such as fashion and projection of all modern artists.
Greece seems to be stepping up its claims on recently looted antiquities.

Image from MiBAC.

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