SCA press release (9-2-2015)

“The Ministry of Antiquities Organizes an International Conference next May to face the attempts of tempering with cultural heritage.

The Minister of Antiquities Dr. Eldamaty discussed the possibility of organizing an international conference under the name of “Cultural Heritage under Threat” to be held in Cairo next May. The conference will be in collaboration between the Ministries of Antiquities and Foreign Affairs in contribution with the UNESCO. The Antiquities Minister met the Chairman of the International Coalition to Protect Egyptian Antiquities (ICPEA) Deborah Lehr and the Vice President of the Middle East Institute – Washington, Kate Seely, to study the means of cooperation in the various fields of archaeology work with the subject of confronting the processes of smuggling and illegal trade of the cultural properties as a priority.

The Antiquities Minister clarifies that the idea came in this particular timing due to what many Arab countries face of terrorist actions, internal and external wars, insecure and instability of security after the Arab Spring. Many archaeological areas, museums and cultural heritage objects were negatively influenced due to such exceptional incidents. The meeting aimed at the coming out of effective resolutions to be declared internationally in such cases, and how to deal with markets that illegally trade with cultural heritage objects. General Supervisor of the “International Organizations” Department Ahmed Ebeid added that this conference will open the door for coordination between the affected countries and allows experience exchange amongst them to protect their invaluable inheritance. It will also emphasize the actual size of the people’s great loss. He also added that it has been agreed that a number of Arab Countries are invited like Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. Other issues also was discussed at the meeting like the means to support the joint cooperation to participate in adding new Egyptian Archaeological sites to the Cultural Heritage List and contact with countries with previous experience at that field like China.

On the other hand, the General Director of the “Repatriated Antiquities” Department added that there is a possibility that the ICPEA could support the Egyptian efforts to document the artifacts saved at the different stores and museums in Egypt through the use of modern techniques to create a digital database to facilitate the process of monitoring the registered, smuggled, and offered for sale objects. He also added that a possibility to present the technical support for Egypt to using the satellite technology in determining the encroachments on archaeological sites was also negotiated at that meeting.”

Original Arabic Language Article can be found HERE