The Rosetta Stone was debated on this morning's BBC Radio 4 "Today" programme. Sarah Montague interviewed Zahi Hawass and Roy Clare (Museums, Libraries and Archives Council).
Hawass rejected a short-term loan. He commented on the security of the new museum in Cairo: "Security will be perfect". He rejected the suggestion that Egypt would not return a loan: "We are not the Pirates of the Caribbean."
He asked for the return of the Rosetta Stone as part of Egypt's identity: "I want the Rosetta Stone to be back in Egypt".
Clare presented the legal position and the role of the Trustees of the British Museum. He made it clear that he did not want a discussion about the "recovery" of the Rosetta Stone. Clare stated that it is an "icon for global culture", in effect making a case for the universal museum. He described the British Museum as a centre for world culture.
Montague asked if Hawass would get the Rosetta Stone back: "Believe me, we will". Hawass then talked about the case of the wall-paintings returned from the Louvre. When Montague mentioned the action that Egypt had taken against the Louvre, Hawass rejoined, "I am not going to threaten the British Museum".
Clare asserted that the Rosetta Stone has "acquired" additional "culture" by being displayed in the British Museum.
Hawass also talked about the proposed meeting in Cairo to discuss the return of cultural property.