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News Flash: Hawass Cuts Off Egyptian Cooperation with the Louvre

Zahi Hawass and mummy he believes is Queen Hatshepsut

He’s threatened to do something like this numerous times. Now Zahi Hawass, the combative head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, has apparently done it—severed ties with a major museum, the Louvre, over an antiquities ownership dispute.

Paul Schemm of the Associated Press reports:

Egypt said Wednesday its antiquities department
severed ties with France’s Louvre museum because it has refused to
return what are described as stolen artifacts, one of the country’s
most aggressive attempts yet to reclaim relics from some of the world’s
leading Egyptology collections….

The Louvre’s press office said that a national
committee made up of specialists from France’s museum world and other
experts will meet by the end of the week to decide the issue, with
final approval given by the Culture Ministry.

With ambitious plans for a Louvre Abu Dhabi designed by Jean Nouvel, the Paris museum has strong motivation to cultivate good relations in the Middle East. An Abu Dhabi newspaper, The National, has already posted the Agence France-Presse version of the Hawass story.

What about all those other Hawassharassed museums? Is this just the beginning?

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