30 ancient coins dating back to the Carthaginian era were returned by Norway to Tunisia at an official ceremony held Wednesday at the Culture Ministry seat, reads a ministry press release on Wednesday.
The ministry did not provide further details on the nature of the returned coins, yet said the operation fell under a partnership agreement inked between the National Heritage Institute (INP) and the University of Oslo’s Museum of Cultural History.
The agreement was inked by INP acting Director General Youssef Lachkam and Professor in archaeology and numismatics at the Oslo University Håkon Roland.
Culture Minister Hayet Ketat Guermazi commended on the occasion, the efforts exerted by both countries to return these coins and to counter smuggling of cultural heritage assets, reads the press release.
This operation had been conducted at the request of the Tunisian authorities in compliance with international conventions, especially the UNESCO 1970 Convention, she added, recalling the legally binding nature of this Convention prohibiting the illicit import, export and transfer of cultural property in all contracting States.
The minister further indicated that the Tunisian State and heritage institutions are keen to preserve the national heritage and ensure its safeguarding.
The Tunisian authorities are fighting against the illegal traffic of cultural assets by ensuring permanent monitoring of the archaeological heritage nationwide and abroad, she pointed out.
For his part, Roland affirmed his country’s full willingness to support joint efforts to combat the phenomenon of trafficking in cultural property, pointing to the paramount importance of cultural heritage as a witness of the identity and cultural belonging of States and peoples in their diversity.
The Norwagian professor further expressed enthusiasm about the consolidation of partnership between Norway and Tunisia in various heritage scientific research fields.
Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse