Egypt Severs Ties with Louvre Over 'Stolen' Ancient Egyptian Artifacts
Egypt Severs Ties with Louvre Over 'Stolen' Ancient Egyptian Artifacts
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Egypt's antiquities chief says Egypt is suspending ties with the Louvre, saying the French museum has not returned what he says are stolen artifacts.

Zahi Hawass on Wednesday said the Louvre has repeatedly ignored requests to return steles, or large reliefs, that date back to the time of the Pharaohs.   Hawass said the Louvre purchased the four archeological reliefs that were stolen from a tomb in Luxor in the 1980s.

French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand said Wednesday that France is willing to return the relics if they were indeed stolen from the tomb site.  He says he has asked a special commission to meet Friday to discuss the situation and rule on the matter.

Egypt has launched an extensive campaign to recover its antiquities abroad, including some objects currently exhibited in well-known museums.   

In 2002, Egypt's Supreme Council ruled that all international museums must return antiquities that were stolen or smuggled from Egypt, including pieces that were purchased by museums but were ultimately proved to be stolen.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP.