Jordan returns 2,466 stolen artefacts to Iraq

June 23rd, 2008 - 2:23 am ICT by IANS  

Amman, June 23 (DPA) The Jordanian government Sunday handed back to Iraq 2,446 artefacts which Amman said were seized from smugglers after the US-led invasion of the neighbouring country. The treasures were handed over by Jordanian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Maha Khatib to her Iraqi counterpart Mohammad al-Oraibi during a press conference.

The antiquities were seized by the Jordanian customs authorities during 22 anti-smuggling operations, Khatib said.

She said Jordan had cooperated actively with Interpol and other international policing bodies in its drive to seize such a large number of stolen treasures from Iraq.

The Iraqi minister took this occasion as an opportunity to issue an appeal to all other Arab and non-Arab countries to assist the Iraqi government in retrieving more than 15,000 artefacts looted from the Iraqi national museum and other institutions since 2003.

“I hereby appeal to all countries to follow the steps of Jordan and Syria, which took the initiative in handing back the stolen Iraqi antiquities,” al-Oraibi said.

He pointed out that Jordan and Syria had handed back to Iraq about 8,500 artefacts and that about 6,500 antiquities were still missing.

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