The United States and Greece today signed a Cultural Memorandum of Understanding that will protect Greece’s culturally significant objects even further from looting and sale on the international market.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Foreign Minister Lambrinidis today signed the MOU.
“Millions of visitors have already had the experience of walking through this magnificent Acropolis museum here in the shadow of the Acropolis and experiencing firsthand the extraordinary gifts that Greece has given over its long history to Western civilization in which my country as well is in your debt.” -Ms. Clinton
Ms. Clinton stressed that it will be illegal to import protected items from Greece into the United States unless they have been certified by the Greek authorities. She said this will help reduce the incentive to illegally remove such objects in the first place.
“We know from experience that measures like this work. This will be our 15th cultural property agreement. And in countries from Cambodia to Cyprus, we have seen real results. These agreements build on America’s long-term commitment to cultural preservation.” -Ms. Clinton
According to Ms. Clinton, forty years ago, the United States was the first nation in the world to ratify the World Heritage Convention. She highlighted it remains a priority for the U.S. government until now.
“Let me just conclude by saying that America is just as committed to Greece’s future as we are to preserving your past. During these difficult economic times, we will stand with you. We are confident that the nation that built the Parthenon, invented democracy, and inspired the world can rise to the current challenge.” -Ms. Clinton