Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Matthew Lussenhop and Albanian’s Minister of Culture Elva Margariti concluded a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding that protects Albanian cultural property.
This agreement exemplifies the United States’ enduring relationship with Albania to counter cultural property trafficking and to preserve heritage. The agreement allows the United States to establish import restrictions on certain categories of Albania’s cultural property, thus reducing the incentive to loot archaeological and historical sites in Albania. The agreement also gives U.S. law enforcement the ability to repatriate trafficked cultural objects back to Albania, and it will foster interchange of Albanian cultural heritage with U.S. institutions.
The United States has been unwavering in its commitment to protect and preserve cultural heritage around the world and to restrict trafficking in cultural property, which is often used to fund terrorist and criminal networks. The cultural property agreement was negotiated by the Department of State under the U.S. law implementing the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. It underscores the U.S. commitment to our relationship with Albania. The United States has cultural property agreements with countries around the world, as well as emergency import restrictions on cultural property from Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.