Friday, September 22, 2006

A generous spirit

A personal account, by Zahi Hawass, of the outgoing German ambassador to Egypt, Martin Kobler, and his role mediating between the German and Egyptian authorities over heritage issues: "Kobler came to Egypt as ambassador at about the same time as I became the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), and we met on many occasions. The first time was in the apartment in Zamalek where he stayed before he moved to the residence attached to the German Embassy. At that time, I was fighting for the return of the famous bust of Nefertiti, which was smuggled illegally out of Egypt in 1912 and is now in the Berlin Museum. Ambassador Kobler never criticised or disagreed with me; on the contrary, he made it clear that he understood my position and sympathised with my desire to have the bust returned. At the same time, he did state that the bust was the centerpiece of the collection at the Berlin Museum, and that it would be difficult, if not impossible, for the museum to agree to let it leave Germany."
See the above page for the full story.

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