Ethiopia says British museum must permanently return its artifacts

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Kumerra Gemechu

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Britain must permanently return all artifacts from Ethiopia held by the Victoria and Albert Museum and Addis Ababa will not accept them on loan, an Ethiopian government official said.

The call comes after the museum, one of London’s most popular tourist attractions, put Ethiopian treasures plundered by British forces in 1868 on display.

“Well, it would be exciting if the items held at the V&A could be part of a long-term loan with a cultural institution in Ethiopia,” museum director Tristram Hunt said.

“These items have never been on a long-term loan in Ethiopia, but as we look to the future I think what we’re interested in are partnerships around conservation, interpretation, heritage management, and these need to be supported by government assistance so that institutions like the V&A can support sister institutions in Ethiopia.”

Among the items on display are sacred manuscripts and gold taken from the Battle of Maqdala 150 years ago, when British troops ransacked the fortress of Emperor Tewodros II.

The offer of a loan did not go far enough for Ethiopia.

SOURCE : REUTERS

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