Greece fully supports the directives issued by UNESCO to combat the illicit trading of cultural goods, noted Alternate Minister for Culture Nikos Xydakis yesterday (19.5), addressing the Third Meeting of States Parties to the 1970 Convention in Paris. Xydakis presented Greece’s proposition on the issue called Stop Illicit Trafficking, which urges the 127 countries of the 1970 UNESCO’s convention to form a wider alliance to help authorities prevent cultural goods exiting a country without legal documents.

The minister stated that since 2009, Greece has registered more than 30 restitution cases, with more than 500 illegally-exported artifacts returning home. Xydakis also cited the harsh realities in war zones where cultural goods are looted: "Hellenistic antiquities have the sad privilege of being highly sought after on the international art market," he said, adding that "a mission is being planned for Iraq to deal with this subject."

Minstry of Culture: Press Release (19.5, in Greek)