The Egyptian cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Center has denied media reports that Egyptian pharaonic antiquities have been sold or smuggled to the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
In an official statement on Tuesday, the IDSC said that the antiquities ministry has said that Egypt has not sent any antiquities to make a debut at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, set to be officially inaugurated in November.
Images have been circulating on social media showing a number of Emirati officials inspecting pharaonic antiquities inside the museum, raising speculation that Egypt had given up the items.
The ministry clarified that the antiquities pictured were from archeological collections already in the Paris Louvre.
The Paris branch of the museum currently includes about 50,000 pieces in its Egyptian collection, dating from 4,000 BC to the fourth century AD.
“Egypt has no right to interfere to stop the antiquities from being presented based on the law,” the IDSC statement added, pointing that the acquisition of any antiquities by international museums was “legal.”
“The antiquities were transferred outside the country legitimately before the issuing of a 1983 law that banned the trade in antiquities,” the IDSC said, adding that prior to the passing of the law, countries that conducted excavations in Egypt had the right to have a share in the antiquities found.
This is not the first series of denials by officials on the issue.
On Monday, the head of the Egyptian museums department at the antiquities ministry, Elham Saleh, denied the rumours that the Abu Dhabi items had been smuggled out of Egypt, calling on the media to ensure the accuracy of their reports.
Egypt has been making efforts to retrieve smuggled artefacts from foreign countries.
It has called upon other countries to prevent illegal exchange, transfer, import or re-export of antiquities within their territories.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi is the result of a 2007 agreement between the UAE and France.