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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2005 > November
Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
November 21, 2005

United States-Nicaragua Bilateral Agreement on Cultural Preservation Extended into 2010

U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua Paul A. Trivelli, Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Norman Caldera, Institute of Culture Director Magdalena Úbeda, and members of the diplomatic community recently celebrated extension of the bilateral Agreement that imposes restrictions on the importation into the United States of Nicaraguan archaeological materials. The U.S. Department of State made the decision to extend the Agreement for another five years after considering the recommendations of the Cultural Property Advisory Committee.

These import restrictions cover pre-Columbian materials such as polychrome ceramics, stone statues, gold ornaments, and shell beads made by cultures living between 8000 BC and 1550 AD in what is now Nicaragua.

The Agreement was extended by an exchange of diplomatic notes prior to its expiration on October 20, 2005. The official ceremony was held on November 8 at the Cultural Center of the Old San Francisco Convent in the colonial city of Granada. Publicly reaffirming U.S. commitment to protect Nicaragua’s unique cultural heritage, Ambassador Trivelli emphasized that "Without the cooperation between our two countries and with others around the world, we could not recover these relics from the past or use them to teach future generations about their rich heritage."

The initial Agreement of 2000 resulted from a request by Nicaragua to the United States for assistance with efforts to stop the erosion of Nicaragua’s cultural heritage resulting from the pillage of archaeological sites. The Agreement also addresses other remedies for enhancing the protection of Nicaragua’s heritage.

Nicaragua's request was made pursuant to the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property and the U.S. Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act, both of which aim to stanch illicit trafficking in cultural property. Looted objects are normally smuggled out of the country and into the international illicit antiquities market.

For additional information on the types of objects that are covered under the Agreement, the text of the Agreement, and related topics, please refer to the website of the Cultural Heritage Center, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State, at http://exchanges.state.gov/culprop/.


Released on November 21, 2005

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