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Member of European Parliament Tabled Questions On the Return of Aksum Obelisk

Addis Tribune (Addis Ababa), 20 July 2001

Following the Open Letter to Italian Prime Minsister Silvio Berlusconi by Professors Andreas Eshete and Richard Pankhurst, recently published in ADDIS TRIBUNE, and the revelations about loot from Ethiopia still in Italy, also published in this newspaper, Richard Balfe, a Member of the European Parliament has tabled questions in that Parliament.

Recalling that Article 37 of the Italian Peace Treaty, which became effective in September 1947, which specified that Italy should return within 18 months all loot taken from Ethiopia; and that the Italo-Ethiopian Agreement of 1997 laid down that the Aksum obelisk, looted on Mussolini’s personal orders in 1937 and erected in Rome to commemorate the March on Rome, would be returned within the year 1997, Richard Balfe demanded the Commission to raise with the Italian Foreign Ministry the matter of the return of the obelisk and ask them to announce when the promised return can in fact be expected.

According to our source Richard Balfe also demanded if the Commission could also ask the Ministry to make a statement on the return of other articles looted from Ethiopia, and in particular when the Ethiopian pre-war National Archives, currently incorporated in Italian state archives, and the pre-war Ethiopian aeroplane Tsehai, currently held in the Italian Aviation Museum, will be returned.