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US and Greece Renew Cultural Property Agreement

US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt and Greek Culture Minister Lina Mendoni sign the renewed MoU between the two countries.

Greek Culture Minister Lina Mendoni and US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt on Wednesday signed a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding that renews protections for Greek cultural property.

According to an announcement, the renewal marks the 10th anniversary of the Memorandum of Understanding Concerning the Imposition of Import Restriction on Categories of Archaeological and Ethnological material of the Hellenic Republic, and is “an example of the United States’ enduring commitment to work with Greece to combat cultural property trafficking and to preserve heritage items”.

The agreement continues US import restrictions on certain archaeological material originating in Greece and ranging in date from approximately 20,000 BC to the 15th century AD.

The renewed MoU also extends import restrictions on ecclesiastical ethnological material ranging in date from approximately the 4th century AD to 1830.

“The timing of this renewal could not be more fitting, as Greece celebrates 200 years of independence, and as we mark two centuries of friendship and alliance between our countries. By renewing this agreement, we will continue to ensure the protection of Greece’s world-renowned cultural heritage,” Ambassador Pyatt said, adding that the US is firmly committed to the protection of Greece’s treasures from looting and trafficking.

On her part, Greece’s culture minister thanked the US for its commitment to work with Greece to combat cultural property trafficking.

“This memorandum significantly reduces illegal trafficking, prevents illegal excavations and the theft of treasures from monasteries, churches, even museums… The protection of movable cultural property and monuments is achieved not only through precautionary measures and sanctions but also through awareness-raising programs and incentives,” Mendoni said.

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