Sunday, July 24, 2011

Dissolution of Egypt's Antiquities Ministry

It appears that Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities will not exist as a separate entity and to be placed under the control by the cabinet and operated by the current secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mohamed Abdel Maqsoud. Thus, Zahi Hawass is out of a job.

Wael El-Samari [Youm 7]...

Egypt’s Ministry of State for Antiquities Affairs was not listed in the details of this week’s cabinet reshuffle. Apparently, its absence is explained by a contradiction between the ministry’s formation and the existing antiquities law.

In a surprising revelation, Egyptian law regarding the protection of antiquities does not recognize the Ministry of State for Antiquities Affairs. The law still stipulates that all decisions taken are the responsibility of the Minister of Culture, not the Minister of Antiquities.

Thus, technically, all decisions made by former Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass are null and void.

And, the New York Times...

Egypt’s antiquities department has been downgraded from a ministry to a cabinet-affiliated office, according to the Los Angeles Times, which cited an Egyptian cabinet spokesman Thursday. The announcement came after a new Cabinet was sworn in that did not include an antiquities minister. Egypt’s antiquities agency had been elevated to a ministry by the former president, Hosni Mubarak, in the last days of his rule; previously it had been under the Ministry of Culture. It still remained unclear, however, who the government intends to appoint to run the office. Last Sunday, officials said the prime minister, Essam Sharaf, planned to replace Zahi Hawass, the longtime antiquities chief, as part of a cabinet reshuffling aimed at appeasing protesters.

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