France readies to hand back Egypt treasures
Unlike Britain, which refuses to hand back the Elgin Marbles, fifth-century sculptures removed from the Greek Parthenon in the 19th century, France says it will consider handing back fragments of ancient Egyptian tomb paintings bought by the Louvre between 2000 and 2003. Egypt has asked France to give back the murals and now the French national museum’s scientific committee will meet to discuss the request. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation requires member countries to prevent the illegal purchase of national treasures, although the French say they bought the pieces in good faith, before new information on their origins came to light. Egypt's chief archaeologist is having none of it, and says the country’s antiquities commission has stopped cooperating with the Louvre.