Iraq Recovers Ancient Artifacts from US

Iraq Recovers Ancient Artifacts from US
Iraq Recovers Ancient Artifacts from US

Iraq exhibited several ancient artifacts that it said had been returned by the United States and other countries, long after they were looted and smuggled out following the 2003 U.S. invasion.

Iraqi authorities have been trying to retrieve thousands of archaeological relics missing since the invasion, which was followed by widespread looting in the country that some historians regard as the cradle of civilization.

Foreign Minister Fouad Hussein handed the recently recovered relics over to Culture, Tourism and Antiquities Minister Ahmed Fakak al-Badrani at a ceremony in Baghdad.

Most of the artifacts on display at the Foreign Ministry headquarters were returned by the U.S. after a visit by Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani to Washington in April, Badrani said.

"It is a great honor on this day to receive a large number of antiquities, including those brought over by the Prime Minister from the United States. And this constitutes the majority of artifacts today, and we will have a special celebration to honor in the Iraqi museum," he added.

He said other relics had been returned by other states, but gave no details.

"This month will also witness the return of an important group of Iraqi antiquities from our embassy in Switzerland, which was delivered to me personally by the Swiss Museum. As well as a rare group of antiquities that were recovered and are in the custody of our embassy in Tokyo," said Iraqi Foreign Minister, Fouad Hussein.

Hussein said more "rare archeological collections" would be returned by Switzerland and Japan this month.