Today, U.S. Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey R. Pyatt and the Greek Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni signed a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding that renews protections for Greek cultural property.
This 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 U.S. import restrictions on certain archaeological material originating in Greece ranging in date from approximately 20,000 B.C. to the 15th century A.D. The renewed MoU also extends import restrictions on ecclesiastical ethnological material ranging in date from approximately the 4th century A.D. to 1830.
Ambassador Pyatt said, “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. The U.S.-Greece relationship is stronger than ever today across all fields of our shared endeavors. By renewing this agreement, we will continue to ensure the protection of Greece’s world-renowned cultural heritage. The United States is firmly committed to the protection of these treasures from looting and trafficking.”
The United States has been unwavering in its commitment to protect and preserve cultural heritage around the world and to restrict trafficking in cultural property, which is often used to fund terrorist and criminal networks. The cultural property agreement was negotiated by the State Department under the U.S. law implementing the 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. It underscores the U.S. commitment to our relationship with Greece and the strong people-to-people ties that are the foundation of our countries’ remarkable reliance. The United States has cultural property agreements with countries around the world, as well as emergency import restrictions on cultural property from Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.