Antiquities council rejects new antiquities minister

Antiquities council rejects new antiquities minister

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Mon, 18/07/2011 - 12:51

The Supreme Council of Antiquities secretariat rejected the appointment of Abdel Fattah al-Banna as antiquities minister. The appointment was part of the cabinet reshuffle ordered by Egypt's prime minister.

In a statement, the secretariat said Banna, a restoration specialist, does not specialize in archaeology and should not assume the ministry's responsibilities. 

The statement called for dissolving the Antiquities Ministry and returning its responsibilities to the council, which it said would act as an independent, scientific institute run by specialists.

The decision to establish the ministry was made by Hosni Mubarak, a mistake that should be reversed in the public's interest, the statement said. Archaeological work is managed according to the law that protects monuments, not the authority of a minister, it added.

Archaeologists will strike if Banna is not removed, council Secretary General Mohamed Abdel Maksoud warned.

The rejection is not related to Banna's disputes with former Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass, Maksoud said.

Banna, a Cairo University associate professor, gained increasing prominence after Egypt's uprising after he organized numerous protests demanding Hawass' dismissal and reforms for Egypt's antiquities sector. 

Several recent Facebook campaigns nominated Banna to head the ministry.

Translated from the Arabic Edition