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Iraq: Interpol, Art Experts Discuss Looted Treasures

Lyon, France; 6 May 2003 (RFE/RL) -- International art experts and law enforcement officials end a two-day meeting in France today on the thousands of art and antiquity objects looted from Iraq. Reports say yesterday's closed-door proceedings in Lyon focused on compiling a database of stolen items so those coming across suspicious objects can check to see if they were looted from Iraq.

The conference brings together experts from the International Council of Museums, the UN educational and cultural organization (UNESCO), Interpol, customs officers, and other officials, including U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft. He is due to address the conference this morning.

Shortly after U.S. troops entered Baghdad in April, looters ransacked the National Archeological Museum in the Iraqi capital, removing or destroying thousands of priceless pieces. The looting sparked an international outcry.

Baghdad's National Archeological Museum held over 170,000 objects, primarily from ancient Mesopotamia, known as the cradle of civilization.