Aswat Masriya (Cairo)

27 February 2013

Egypt: Govt Denies Intention to Rent, Sell Monuments

Egypt's government has no intention of renting or selling any of the country's monuments, the cabinet's official spokesman stated on Wednesday.

Reports of the cabinet's intent to do that are merely based on a proposal someone made, the spokesman added.

The finance ministry presented a proposal from a citizen called Abdallah Mahfouz for a project involving usufruct of archeological sites in Egypt including the Giza Pyramids, the Sphinx and Luxor temples.

The proposal stated that the usufruct will be given to international tourism companies for three or five years and will be done through a public auction for financial returns.

Mahfouz said it is a "quick fix for the budget deficit", head of the finance minister's office Ayman Gohar said.

The project's returns may reach up to $200 billion as rental value for five years, Mahfouz added.

The ministry of antiquities had said today that the Supreme Council for Antiquities entirely rejected the proposal.

The Minister of Antiquities emphasised the impossibility of compromising the country's cultural heritage.

All antiquities belong to the state and are part of public funds that may not be exploited through usufruct, the ministry of antiquities said.

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