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France returns 250 customs seized ancient 2000 BC artifacts to Egypt

France returns 250 customs seized ancient 2000 BC artifacts to Egypt

PARIS: The foreign ministry of France said Paris has returned 250 ancient 2000 BC  artifacts to Egypt that were illegally imported into the country and seized by French customs officials.

Amulets, rings, funerary statues and pitchers, dating from 2000 BC to the Roman, Byzantine and Medieval eras were returned to the Egyptian embassy.

Foreign ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said the artefacts were from “two batches of archeological items identified by the Louvre museum as authentic.”

French customs seized the items at Paris’s main airport Charles de Gaulle in March and November 2010, hidden in the baggage of travellers coming from Cairo.

Customs authorities said in a statement it was the third time this year that France had returned illegally imported cultural artefacts to foreign authorities.

In February, President Francois Hollande returned an extremely valuable ancient terracotta statue from Nigeria’s Nok civilization – seized by customs in 2012 – to authorities in the country.

And in early November, 13 reptile fossils were returned to Brazil, eight years after they were seized.