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US and Yemen Sign New Cultural Property Agreement to Combat Looting

August 31, 2023

On August 30, the United States and Yemen signed a bilateral cultural property agreement, committing both countries to combating the illicit trade of antiquities. This agreement, which builds on the Emergency Import Restrictions that were put in place in February of 2020, was signed by His Excellency Mohammed Al-Hadrami, Ambassador of Yemen to the United States, and the Honorable Ms. Lee Satterfield, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs. The Antiquities Coalition commends the United States and Yemen for strengthening their diplomatic ties in the fight against the looting and trafficking of ancient art and artifacts.

For over nine years, Yemen has suffered a significant loss of life, devastation of its communities, and destruction of cultural heritage due to ongoing civil war. The new agreement will ensure that undocumented objects from Yemen that may have been illegally obtained or exported will not cross U.S. borders. Reaching this agreement is a critical step to helping the people of Yemen retain and protect their priceless cultural heritage. This agreement also helps the U.S. to protect responsible American collectors, dealers, and museums from unknowingly contributing to the ongoing conflict in Yemen through the purchase of looted artifacts. 

With this signing, the United States now has agreements with six countries in the Middle East and North Africa region, including Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, and Morocco. 

The Antiquities Coalition was honored to be in attendance at the signing ceremony and is a proud partner of both governments in our shared mission to combat cultural racketeering. We look forward to continued progress to safeguard cultural heritage across the globe, particularly during periods of conflict.