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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 April, 2004, 11:55 GMT 12:55 UK
West blasted over Iraq treasures
Baghdad Museum
More than 12,000 artefacts were stolen from the museum
The man in charge of recovering treasures looted from Baghdad's museum a year ago has criticised Western governments for failing to co-operate.

Matthew Bogdanos said 4,500 artefacts had been recovered so far, but 8,000 works - including some of the most valuable - were still missing.

The Interpol, France, Switzerland and Dubai had all failed to respond, he told the BBC's Today programme.

The museum was looted last April, in the days after Saddam Hussein's fall.

Initial fears that 170,000 artefacts had been stolen proved unfounded.

The US appointed a 13-member team with military, immigration and customs personnel to recover the stolen goods.

Epidemic

Colonel Bogdanos, the team's head, said on Tuesday he could not find the words to express his anger at international law enforcement agencies for failing to help trace "some of the most priceless artefacts known to mankind".

"I cannot seem to get the international community - apart from the UK, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait and the US - interested in participating," he said.

I cannot seem to get the international community - apart from the UK, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait and the US - interested
Colonel Matthew Bogdanos
American investigator

"I can't seem to convince them... that this is a worldwide epidemic problem that needs immediate resolution."

Colonel Bogdanos said although the Interpol would be an ideal candidate to facilitate a global investigation, it was "unwilling or unable" to do so.

He added that the recovery of the Iraqi artefacts would be left to "sheer luck", unless more governments were ready to devote resources and personnel.

Investigators believe some objects were stolen to order and smuggled out of the country.

Thousands of valuable bead-shaped seals were stolen from locked, concealed store rooms.

Other important archaeological sites were also ransacked across Iraq, historically known as Mesopotamia and seen as the birthplace of modern civilisation.


SEE ALSO:
Looted Iraqi artefacts 'found in London'
07 Nov 03  |  Entertainment
US experts resign over Iraq looting
18 Apr 03  |  Entertainment
Iraq museum unveils treasures
03 Jul 03  |  Entertainment
Baghdad treasures 'mostly intact'
07 Jun 03  |  Middle East
Art gangs 'looted Iraqi museums'
17 Apr 03  |  Entertainment


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