US returns 2 looted statues to Cambodia

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The United States had returned to Cambodia two ancient statues after they were looted from the kingdom decades ago during the civil war, according to a joint press statement on Saturday.

The statues arrived at the Phnom Penh International Airport on Tuesday and representatives of the two countries attended a Buddhist blessing ceremony held on Friday at the National Museum.

Cambodian Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona said every return of Cambodian artifacts from abroad is a testament to the fact that a full cooperative and peaceful partnership exists.

"Despite the global health emergency and fight against the COVID-19, the Khmer statues have been returned to our homeland and is a great boon to the nation," she said.

According to the statement, the first statue is an 11th century sandstone Khmer statue torso of the Khleang style wearing a Khmer sampot, a traditional garment of Cambodia.

"The antiquity expert determined the statue had a fair market value of 75,000 U.S. dollars," the statement said.

The other statue, from the 10th century, is a large gray sandstone Khmer statue torso of an unidentified Deity. Experts estimated the value of this statue at about 120,000 U.S. dollars, it said.

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