Acting pursuant to the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import , Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (to which both the countries are States Party), and recalling the MoU, concerning the imposition of import restrictions on pre-classical and classical archaeological objects and Byzantine and post-Byzantine period ecclesiastical and ritual ethnological materials, signed at Washington on 16th July, 2002, the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Cyprus have signed an agreement.
It has been agreed upon that the Government of the United States of America shall restrict importing certain archaeological materials into the country, ranging in date from approximately the 11th millennium BC to 1770 AD to 1878 AD, which may include ecclesiastical material, documents, manuscripts, architectural material, traditional clothing and emblems of the State, from Cyprus, unless the government issues a license which certifies that such exportation was not in violation of the country’s laws.
The USA has also offered the return of all such materials to the government of Cyprus, forfeited to its government and the continuation of the import restrictions shall be published in the US Federal Register, the official US Government publication, providing fair public notice. The government shall publicize the agreement and the reasons for it.
As per the agreement, the government of Cyprus shall continue to use its ‘best efforts’ to share information of unauthorized excavations, thefts of cultural property, and other threats that jeopardize its cultural patrimony, with the government of the USA.
The Cyprus government has also agreed upon taking steps consistent with the 1970 UNESCO Convention and to assist them, the US Government shall facilitate technical assistance to them, as appropriate under available programmes in the public and private sectors.
The Cyprus government will also continue to encourage further inter-change of archaeological and ethnological materials for cultural, educational, and scientific purposes, including long-term loans of such materials to promote widespread public appreciation of and access to Cyprus’ rich cultural heritage.
Both the governments will continue to keep the other informed of the measures taken to implement the agreement.
“The obligations of the governments and the activities carried out under this agreement shall be subject to their respective laws and regulations, including with respect to the availability of appropriated funds”, the agreement further read.