Jun 14 2012
By Shaymaa Adel
Azzaman, June 14, 2010
Germany will cooperate fully with Iraqi authorities in order to return any smuggled artifacts it seizes and resume digs by German archaeologists in the country, according to the Ministry to Tourism and Antiquities.
The ministry’s spokesperson Ali al Hashemi said the promises were made by German ambassador in Baghdad, Karl George Christian, during an audience with the antiquities and tourism minister Liwa Sumaisim.
Hashemi said the ambassador made it clear that the German authorities will work closely with the Iraqi embassy in Berlin in regard to the return of smuggled artifacts and that he personally was looking forward to a resumption of German excavation in Iraq.
Hashemi said Germany would help the Antiquities Department to hold an archaeology exhibition in the southern Province of Dhiqar and that the Iraqi government was mulling holding an international conference on Iraqi antiquities in Baghdad.
The ministry says more than 117,000 artifacts are estimated to have been stolen from Iraqi ancient mounds by smugglers and illegal diggers.
This is besides the thousands of pieces that went missing from the Iraq Museum shortly after the 2003-U.S. invasion of Iraq.
The ministry has asked the government to provide resources for the recruitment of thousands of guards to protect more than 12,000 archaeologically significant sites in the country.
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