U.S. Delegation Inspect Returned Statues

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U.S. expert team accompanied by Mr. Sous Yara, Cambodia parliamentarian for Preah Vihear, visits site at Prasat Chen, Koh Ker in Preah Vihear province where the original three ancient statues were looted from the Kingdom more than 40 years ago, including one recently retrieved after a long legal battle in the United States.

PHNOM PENH, (Khmer Times) — A delegation from the internationally renowned Christie’s auction house, recently visited Cambodia to observe the relocation of three Cambodian statues to their original resting place, following their repatriation to Cambodia in May.
According to Cabinet officials, the visit was organized to confirm that the statues Balarama, Bhima, and Duryodhana, which were originally looted from the Koh Ker temple in Preah Vihear province in 2004, were now securely in place.
Duryodhana was formally returned to Cambodia on May 7, 2014, in New York at a ceremony attended by Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Sok An. The Minister acknowledged the international cooperation and goodwill from the U.S. Attorney-General’s Office of the Southern District of New York, supported by a Cambodian legal team, which conducted a lengthy legal battle to have the statues returned.
CPP National Assembly member Mr. Suos Yara confirmed that after seeing the statues’ location, the delegation expressed appreciation to the Khmer ancestors who had left behind a unique legacy for the nation of Cambodia and the wider world.
He added that although experts believed there were nine statues of national significance stolen from the site, the return of the first three was only made possible through the efforts of the Cambodian government, in collaboration with the government of the United States, the United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organization (UNESCO), French school Ecole Française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO), and other experts.
The delegation also promised to improve closer cooperation with the Cambodian government in searching for the remaining missing statues with a view to their eventual return.

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