US to Return two 4,000-Year-Old Artifacts to Iraq
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US to Return two 4,000-Year-Old Artifacts to Iraq

ERBIL — Iraq's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday that two rare artifacts will be recovered from the US after an agreement with partners in Washington.

"Pursuant to the Diplomacy of Recovery, the Consulate General of the Republic of Iraq in Los Angeles, in coordination and cooperation with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, will receive two artifacts dating back more than 4,000 years," Iraqi Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The artifacts include two cuneiform tablets from the ancient cities of Ur and Babylon. They are considered unique treasuries that are often used as teaching materials for archaeology students.

According to the statement, a special ceremony has been organized on 20 January at the Iraqi Consulate General in Los Angeles where US officials will hand over the artifacts to Iraqi authorities.

US federal authorities confiscated the artifacts as part of ongoing efforts to crack down on the trafficking of Iraqi antiquities and return them to Iraq, the ministry added.

After 2003, untold numbers of archaeological and historical items were looted from various locations in Iraq, most of which were smuggled to or through Europe. More than 15,000 items were taken from Iraq's National Museum in Baghdad alone, of which some 7,000 have been returned.

Meanwhile on January 18, Iraqi foreign ministry representatives met with Belgian officials to discuss the return of multiple artifacts to Iraq. A statement said the Belgian government had confiscated them after suspecting the items of being displayed illegally at auctions.

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