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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 May, 2003, 17:00 GMT 18:00 UK
Call to save Iraqi treasures
Iraqi guards survey the damage after looters rampaged through the National Museum of Baghdad
Looters left a scene of devastation at Baghdad's National Museum
The UK Government is backing a move to outlaw the illegal trade in Iraq's plundered art and antiquities.

It is aimed at looters who stole priceless artefacts from Baghdad's museums after the US-led invasion.

Culture Minister Kim Howells has confirmed that the government is backing a Private Members' Bill sponsored by Liberal Democrat MP Richard Allan.

Dr Howells said Mr Allan's proposal - the Dealing in Cultural Objects Bill - would help "choke" the trade in the Iraqi artefacts.

He said: "The government is determined to do whatever it can to help Iraq and its people - and nations around the world - to recover their heritage, their culture and their pride."

He said Iraqis should be allowed once more to appreciate their unique culture and its place at the heart of the world's heritage.

Mr Allan, MP for Sheffield Hallam, said the current law could allow Iraqi antiquities to be sold openly in the UK without fear of prosecution.

London is thought to be a likely hub for those trying to sell looted or stolen antiquities.

However, it is not thought that treasures stolen from museums will be openly traded because they will be catalogued and easily identifiable.

Looted Iraqi artefacts 'returned'
08 May 03  |  Middle East
Tackling the stolen art trade
07 May 03  |  Arts
Hunt on for Iraq museum thieves
06 May 03  |  Middle East
Drive to recover Iraqi treasures
05 May 03  |  Middle East
Jordan seizes Iraqi pictures
19 Apr 03  |  Arts

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