Chile returns 117 smuggled fossils to Morocco

(with MAP)
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Morocco was handed over 117 rare fossils dating back 400 million years on Monday in Santiago, Chile. The fossils were confiscated by Chilean customs between 2017 and 2022.

The handover of these unique artifacts to Morocco's Ambassador Kenza El Ghali was held at the headquarters of the National Library of Chile. The Director of the National Department of Cultural Resources, and Deputy Director of Inspection of the Chilean Customs Service, presided over the ceremony in the presence of representatives from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Culture and Heritage, customs, and security services.

Morocco and Chile cooperate in various areas, including the protection of historically significant fossils. The seizure of Moroccan fossils by Chilean customs and their return to the Kingdom exemplifies the two countries' commitment to combating the illicit trafficking of cultural property, in accordance with international law.

The Moroccan ambassador thanked the Chilean authorities for their close cooperation over the past five years in recovering and returning this ancient Moroccan heritage. She compared the smuggling of antiquities and fossils to drug trafficking, arguing that it might be even more egregious. Kenza El Ghali concluded by expressing her delight at the artifacts' «beautiful return to their original home, Morocco».

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