US returns to Iraq treasure trove of antiquities: Baghdad

Newsessentials Blog

Baghdad, July 28 (AFP) Jul 28, 2021
The United States will return to Iraq some 17,000 archaeological treasures dating back 4,000 years and looted in recent decades, an “unprecedented” restitution, the culture minister in Baghdad said Wednesday.Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi was set to take back the artifacts from ancient Mesopotamia on his aircraft, when he returns Thursday from Washington where he met US President Joe Biden.”This is the largest return of antiquities to Iraq,” said Iraqi Culture Minister Hassan Nazim, hailing it as “the result of months of efforts by the Iraqi authorities in conjunction with their embassy in Washington”.Most of the ancient pieces document “the commercial exchanges during the Sumerian period”, his ministry said in a statement.Iraq’s antiquities have been extensively looted during decades of war and insurgency, often by organised crime groups, since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.”It is impossible to quantify the…

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