CAIRO: Belgium has returned two ancient Egyptian artefacts that had been illegally taken from Egypt.
The artefacts were returned to Khaled El-Baqly, Egypt’s ambassador to Belgium, during a ceremony held on Saturday by Belgium’s ministry of economy. The deputy prime minister, the Belgian minister of economy and labor, and Belgian government officials also attended.
General Supervisor of the Administration of Recovered Antiquities in Egypt Shaaban Abdel-Gawad said: “The two statues consist of a colorful limestone statue of a standing man resting on a base dating back to the era of the Old Kingdom, and another Ushabti statue from the Late Period made of faience.”
Abdel-Gawad said that Egypt had been working on retrieving the two statues since 2016, when Belgian authorities seized them during an antiquities sale in Belgium. Investigations proved that the owner of the exhibition did not have identification papers for the statues.
The Egyptian attorney general’s office, the ministry of tourism and antiquities, and the Egyptian ministry of foreign affairs worked together to retrieve the stolen artefacts. The Egyptian embassy in Brussels and the Belgian authorities were also credited by the Egyptian foreign ministry in a statement.
Ambassador Khaled El-Baqly expressed the importance of the event, which represented a tangible step that expressed the “distinguished relations” between Egypt and Belgium, and paved the way for more coordination, including the recovery of smuggled Egyptian antiquities.