Italy returns antiquities looted from Iraq

ROME (Reuters) – Italy on Thursday returned 13 ancient Iraqi artifacts that had been smuggled out of the country after the U.S.-led invasion.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi gave the artifacts, which included a tablet and a lamp, to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki during his visit.

They were recovered by Italian police, who have been waging a campaign to recover stolen archaeological artifacts.

“It is an important and symbolic gesture about how Italy … treats objects of antiquity and always tries to return them to the countries where they belong,” Berlusconi told a joint news conference with Maliki, where some of the artifacts were displayed.

Maliki appealed to countries to follow Italy’s lead and return all antiquities that were looted and smuggled out of the country after the invasion.

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