Egypt to ask for museums abroad to send artifacts

Egypt said Sunday it would ask museums abroad to temporarily send back some its most precious artifacts including the Rosetta Stone and bust of Nefertiti to be put on display here. The country's chief archaeologist, Zahi Hawass, said the Foreign Ministry would send letters this week to France, Germany, the United States and Great Britain requesting that the ancient artifacts be loaned temporarily to Egypt. Hawass has previously demanded that many of the artifacts be returned permanently to Egypt, claiming some of them were taken illegally. This time, the country is requesting museums loan the artifacts so they can be temporarily exhibited either at the 2011 opening of the Egyptian Museum, near the site of the Great Pyramids at Giza, or the Atum museum, which is set to open in the Nile Delta city of Meniya in 2010, the Supreme Council of Antiquities said in a statement.