Sunday, October 23, 2011

CPAC and Egypt: Why Bother?

Ahramonline, the Egyptian Military Dictatorship's mouthpiece, has reported that US and Egyptian authorities are poised to sign yet another MOU which will purportedly clamp down on the trade in Egyptian artifacts. See

Of course, such MOU's are only supposed to be decided after a formal request from a State Party to the State Department. CPAC is then supposed to make recommendations to the President's designee at the Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, who in turn is only supposed to agree to import restrictions if specific statutory criteria are met.

Here, all this appears to be a formality. Some months ago former Egyptian antiquities chief Zahi Hawass reported that American archaeologists had secured the State Department's agreement to enter into import restrictions. Then, the State Department gave ICOM a sole source contract to develop a "red list" of Egyptian antiquities at risk, which can also serve as a ready made "designated list" for import restrictions.

If the reports emanating out of Egypt are true, it's just more evidence that the whole CPAC process is but a bad joke.

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