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United States and Uzbekistan Sign New Cultural Property Agreement

November 9, 2023

Agreement Will Help Prevent Illicit Artifacts from Uzbekistan from Entering the American Art Market

On November 7, 2023, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Gayrat Fozilov, and the U.S. Department of State Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Assistant Secretary, Donald Lu, signed a bilateral cultural property agreement, committing both countries to combating the illicit trade in cultural property. This agreement closes U.S. borders to undocumented objects from Uzbekistan that may have been illegally obtained or exported, ensuring that they will not cross U.S. borders.

The Antiquities Coalition commends the United States and Uzbekistan for signing this agreement and strengthening their diplomatic ties in the fight to combat cultural racketeering. The nation’s rich heritage makes this agreement all the more necessary. Uzbekistan is home to seven world heritage sites, including Samarkand, a 7th-century B.C. Afrasiab City, known as the Crossroad of Cultures. 

With this signing, Uzbekistan became the first country in Central Asia to have a cultural property agreement with the United States (the U.S. imposed import restrictions on an emergency basis on certain categories of archaeological and ethnological material originating in Afghanistan in 2022). The Antiquities Coalition is encouraged by this action in the region, and we look forward to efforts by both nations to continue to combat this illicit trade.