Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs have denied that Egyptian artifacts seized by the Italian Police of Tourism on March 14 were smuggled by any Egyptian diplomats or the Embassy of Egypt in Rome, according to a statement on Wednesday.
The police revealed that an Italian citizen was the shipment’s exporter, confirming that details about its departure and consignee will be disclosed after taking permission from the investigative bodies in Italy.
Official Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ahmed Abu Zaid, clarified that the Italian police found 23700 artifacts containing some 118 Egyptian relics in a diplomatic container. The Embassy sent the artifacts’ photos to the Ministry of Foreign affairs and Ministry of Antiquities to verify their origins.
Abu Zaid added that the Embassy checked with the Italian Police and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs the consignee of the container, the date of its departure and the nationality of the diplomat who exported the shipment.
The artifacts were Pottery vessels from different eras, parts of coffins and coins and few pieces characterized with an Islamic nature, Head of Ministry of Antiquities Retrieved Antiquities Department said Shaban Abdel Gawad said.
Abdel Gawad hinted that Ministry of Antiquities will cooperate with Egypt’s Foreign Ministry and the Italian bodies to retrieve the artifacts.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm