On July 17-20, 2012, the Cultural Property Advisory Committee at the U.S. Department of State will meet to review a proposal to extend the current cultural property Memorandum of Understanding with Cyprus, which has been in place since 2002.

Cyprus was the first country in the Mediterranean region to seek the help of the United States in protecting its cultural property. On July 16, 2002, the Government of the U.S. and the Government of the Republic of Cyprus entered into a bilateral agreement, or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), to impose import restrictions on categories of Pre-Classical and Classical archaeological objects from Cyprus. On August 17, 2006, the MOU was amended to include the Byzantine ecclesiastical and ritual ethnological material that had been protected by an emergency import restriction in 1999. On July 16, 2007, the amended MOU was extended for a term of five years. Read this for a report on CPAC Public Hearing January 18, 2012.

It is vital to the protection of Cyprus’ cultural heritage that this MOU be extended. Here’s why…