Press Release

Wednesday 3 July 2019
5:00 AM

Unofficial Translation​

The Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Antiquities of the Arab Republic of Egypt assert that the auction held on July 3,2019, at Christie's London auction house, in which a number of Egyptian artifacts were sold without heeding Egypt’s legitimate demands over the past few weeks and the steps taken by the two Ministries and UNESCO with Christie's and the British Foreign Office,  is a matter that conflicts with the relevant international treaties and conventions as the mentioned auction house has to date not submitted the artifacts’ documentation to the Egyptian side. The matter of the auction being held also ignores the legal assistance requested by the Egyptian authorities from the competent British bodies.

On his part, Ambassador Tarek Adel, Egypt's ambassador to the United Kingdom, explained that the auction was not delayed despite objections and legal remarks raised by Egypt regarding the legitimacy of the trading of the Egyptian artifacts being displayed at the auction house. He added that the Egyptian Embassy had clearly conveyed such objections to the auction house and the British authorities via various channels. He further noted that the Embassy regrets that the auction house intends to proceed with a second auction to display more Egyptian artifacts for sale, including the head of a small Egyptian statue of Tutankhamun, despite demands for the auction’s delay to allow time to validate and verify the legality of trading such items, the authenticity of their documents, and evidence of their legal exportation from Egypt; especially when considering that such demands are reinforced by doubts raised in specialized reports and articles concerning the validity of trading some of the artifacts.

Ambassador Adel also expressed his appreciation to all those who supported Egypt’s demands, and followed-up on and endorsed its efforts, whether in concerned international organizations and the media, or through appeals and public events. In this regard, he stressed that the Egyptian Embassy in London will continue its efforts and measures, in coordination with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, in order to end the illicit trafficking in Egypt’s cultural heritage.