Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities has banned any cooperation with Toledo Museum of Art in America, after the Ohio-based institution held auctions to sell ancient Egyptian artefacts. A ministry statement on Monday explained that the decision was made after what it called "indecent actions towards Egypt's cultural heritage" following the museum's sale of a number of Egyptian, Cypriot and Italian artefacts in two auctions at Christie's in New York. The Egyptians believe that the sale "violates the code of ethics of the International Council of Museums (ICOM)."
The Supervisor General of the Antiquities Repatriation Department, Shaaban Abdel Gawad, said that the ministry has prohibited any cooperation or dealings with Toledo Museum or any of its staff, following this alleged breach of the ICOM's code of ethics. He confirmed that the ministry is trying to halt such sales in order to repatriate Egyptian antiquities through various diplomatic channels.
The Ministry of Antiquities signed a number of bilateral agreements last year with several countries for the repatriation of all artefacts for which Egypt is able to provide proof of affiliation to Egyptian culture and history.