The Egyptian government has already informed Cyprus that it would like the vessel depicting Ramses II dating back to the 13th century BC to be returned through the normal procedure followed for the return of antiquities. The item had been stolen from Egypt and was recently found in Cyprus.
According to a report in Kathimerini, the decision was taken after the public row between the authorities and deputies over whether the appearance of the vessel in Cyprus merited additional investigation. Deputies of the House watchdog committee last week demanded a full investigation into how the object came to Cyprus before it was returned, while the government claimed there was no evidence to justify further investigation.
The vessel, the government said, had been illicitly exported from Egypt after illegal excavations at a burial site there. Deputies demanded its provenance was confirmed as there were claims it had been illicitly unearthed in Cyprus. On Friday, police said it had investigated the matter and decided no charges could be brought against anyone.
President Anastasiades had intended to hand over the vessel to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi during the latter’s visit to Cyprus on Monday. The move was put on hold, but after Friday’s police announcement, the government announced that Anastasiades was to return the artefact to the Egyptian president despite the objections of deputies.
Egypt had filed a formal request for the artefact’s repatriation and the government decided it would be given personally to the Egyptian president by Anastasiades during the El-Sisi’s visit to Cyprus.
The Egyptian authorities, reportedly, did not like the noise made about the artefact and requested that is was returned through normal procedures without any fanfare.
El-Sisi will arrive on the island on Monday on an official visit to discuss bilateral relations with Anastasiades and will also participate in the fifth trilateral summit of Cyprus, Egypt and Greece which will take place on Tuesday in Nicosia. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will attend Tuesday’s meeting.