Friday, June 25, 2010

United States Returned Khmer Ancient Artifacts

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The United States of America has returned a total of seven items of the Khmer Artifacts which were confiscated from looters and smugglers during in the period of 20 years in its country. These seven items of the Khmer artifacts weighted 500 pound equal to 200 kilograms, and were brought by the hospital ship USNS Mercy to Cambodia on June 15th.

The official handing over ceremony of the Khmer ancient artifacts was made between Mr. John Johnson, Spokesman and Representative of U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia Carol A. Rodley, and Mrs. Liza Franchetti, Director of the Pacific Partnership Project with Cambodian government, and H.E. Khim Sarith, Secretary of State for the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts on June 17th at the Sihanouk Port in Sihanouk province.

The U.S. Army which are the partners of the hospital ship USNS Mercy are very happy to return these sven items of Khmer ancient artifacts to the Royal Government of Cambodia, said Johnson.

Johnson continued to say that the seven items of Khmer ancient artifacts were confiscated from looters by the U.S. custom and immigration officers and were kept for over 20 years in the United States of America.

“The United States is very pleased to return the Khmer ancient artifacts to the original place and the Royal Government of Cambodia,” he said. “We hope that these ancient artifacts will be maintained and preserved by the Cambodian government for the next generations in Cambodia.”

The artifacts include several pieces smuggled from Angkor Wat, a Buddhist temple located 200 miles from the capital city of Phnom Penh. The pieces include stone sculptures with ornate carvings of lions, dragons and human figures. The artifacts are believed to be from the Angkor Period, which spanned from 802 until 1431 A.D.

H.E. Khim Sarith, Secretary of State for the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, was great full that the hospital ship USNS Mercy team and the United States for their work and that they returned these Khmer artifacts to the Kingdom of Cambodia.

“On behalf of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts as well as the Royal Government of Cambodia I have a lot of gratitude and appreciate the US government and the hospital ship USNS Mercy team in returning these Khmer ancient artifacts to the Kingdom of Cambodia. We will maintain and preserve these ancient artifacts for the next generations in Cambodia,” he said.

The Secretary of State pointed out that these Khmer ancient statuses were constructed by the Khmers during between the 4th Century and the 12th Century in the Empire of Khmer. He added that these ancient statues were the souls and traditional cultures of Cambodia which are value to culture in Cambodia. /




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