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Dutch gov't returns stolen antiquities to Iraq

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) - The Dutch government has turned
over dozens of antiquities stolen from Iraq to Baghdad's
ambassador.
The 69 pieces include cylindrical stone seals older than 2000
B.C. and a terra-cotta relief depicting a bearded man praying.
Dutch Education, Culture and Science Minister Ronald Plasterk
said Thursday the ancient artifacts were surrendered by Dutch
traders after police informed them they were stolen.
He has called on other countries to do more to halt the illicit
trade in stolen antiquities.
U.S. customs authorities and Interpol had alerted Dutch
authorities that the items were being sold here.
Diederik Meijer of the Dutch National Museum for Antiquities
declined to put a value on the artifacts, saying it could boost the
trade.


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