Egypt retrieved over 500 artifacts from abroad in 2016, said the director general of the Retrieved Antiquities Department of the Antiquities Ministry Shaaban Abdel Gawad.
Gawad added, in statements made to Al-Borsa News website, that 340 artifacts were recently retrieved from Jordan by the Egyptian Embassy in Amman. He explained that legal procedures to hand over the 340 pieces were in process.
Forty pieces were retrieved from Switzerland; 17 from Australia; 44 from the UK; and 70 from France, Belgium and Israel, he explained in the statement to Al-Borsa News.
The Antiquities Ministry plans to sign agreements for retrieving artifacts with countries of the European Union, as well as with bordering countries such as Libya, Sudan, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
Direct bilateral agreements between countries are stronger in effect than the UNESCO agreement of 1970, which bans the illegal import and export of archaeological and cultural heritage.
The UNESCO agreement does not state the right of countries to demand the retrieval of smuggled artifacts before 1970.
Egypt and the United States signed last week a bilateral agreement on the protection of cultural property and limiting the smuggling of Egyptian artifacts, which was the first of its kind between the two countries, said Gawad.
The US will ban, in accordance with the agreement, the import of Egyptian artifacts that date back to eras between 5,200 BCE (Before Commen Era) and 1,571 CE, according to Gawad.