Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Minister of Foreign Affairs Stavros Lambrinidis signed a Memorandum of Understanding Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Hellenic Republic Concerning the Imposition of Import Restrictions on Categories of Archaeological and Byzantine Ecclesiastical Ethnological Material through the 15th Century A.D. of the Hellenic Republic.
Signed at the Acropolis Museum with the Parthenon temple as a backdrop, the agreement will strengthen collaboration to reduce looting and trafficking of antiquities, and provide for their return to Greece. It also aims to further the international interchange of such materials for cultural, educational, and scientific purposes. The two countries, both parties to the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, entered into the agreement following a request submitted to the Department of State by the Government of the Hellenic Republic for assistance under the Convention. Assistant Secretary Ann Stock, acting as the president’s designee, made the necessary determinations to enter into this agreement. The agreement is consistent with the recommendation of the State Department’s Cultural Property Advisory Committee.
The Department of Homeland Security will publish in the Federal Register a list of the types of archaeological and ecclesiastical ethnological material that will require documentation to be brought into the United States. The restricted material will include objects generally associated with the Upper Paleolithic through Late Byzantine periods. The agreement and Federal Register notice will be published after the Governments have notified each other by diplomatic note that each has completed all the internal requirements for the agreement’s entry into force.
For more information on cultural property agreements, visit http://exchanges.state.gov/heritage/culprop.html