Børge Brende personally returns Buddha statue to Burma
Foreign Minister Børge Brende of Høyre returned a Buddhist sculpture on Thursday to the authorities in Myanmar’s capital Nay Pyi Daw.
The State Council surrendered the 200 year old sculpture, which was taken illegally to Norway in 2011, ceremoniously in the city.
‘Norway wants to help in a situation where stolen cultural objects are returned to the country of origin, in line with international agreements. I’m glad that this beautiful sculpture is finally back where it belongs.
At the same time, I’m concerned that an illegal trade in cultural objects is increasing, and finding new forms, often occurring through international criminal networks. The gain from illicit trafficking is sometimes used to finance terrorist activity,’ said the Foreign Minister.
Cultural objects should be returned
The 93 kilo statue is made from alabaster, lacquer, gold and glass. It was stopped at Drammen customs in 2011 after being bought by a Norwegian in Thailand. The seller lacked the necessary authorization to conduct antique trade. Since then, Norwegian authorities have worked to find out where the statue originates, and experts assessed that it was most likely from the Mandalay region of Myanmar.
‘We urge all countries to strengthen efforts to safeguard and return cultural objects to the countries they originated. There’s a need for countries to strengthen their cooperation in order to comply with international obligations, and to stop such illegal activity,’ said Børge Brende.
© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today