Cyprus hands Egypt ancient artefacts stolen in 1980s

Ushabtis, funerary figurines meant to represent the deceased person in the afterlife, are seen at the Egyptian Museum in the Vatican Museums. (Illustrative photo: AFP)

Cyprus has handed back to Egypt 14 ancient artefacts stolen and smuggled abroad in the late 1980s after authorities on the Mediterranean island seized them, Egypt’s government said Tuesday.

The artefacts include an alabaster base “decorated with the name of King Ramses II in addition to 13 ushabti figurines and amulets of different shapes,” the antiquities ministry said, citing an official.

Interpol had informed Egypt of the objects’ seizure in 2017, the ministry said.

The ministry said that it ultimately succeeded “through diplomatic and legal efforts” to prove its ownership of these artefacts.

The items arrived in Cyprus in 1986 and were recovered in the capital Nicosia, it added.

It did not say when the artefacts were returned exactly, but that it took place at an event in Egypt attended by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and his Greek and Cypriot counterparts.

Sisi met Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos in Alexandria on Monday and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades on Tuesday.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:56 - GMT 06:56