CAIRO (AFP) — Egyptian antiquities chief Zahi Hawass threatened on Wednesday to withdraw archeological items on show in Switzerland because of a parallel picture exhibition he deemed offensive to Egypt.
Hawass, the charismatic and controversial head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, told AFP he had sent a letter of protest to the Pierre Gianadda Foundation in Martigny, Switzerland.
Egypt has loaned the museum around 70 bronze, copper, gold and silver sculptures for the "Gifts of the Gods: Images from Egyptian Temples" antiquities exhibit which runs until June 8.
Pictures "undermining Egypt and its civilisation" by Swiss photographer Monique Jacot are on show alongside the Egyptian antiquities, Hawass said.
Hawass has urged foundation official Leonard Gianadda to pull down the pictures, including one showing a dead cow near the Nile, which the Egyptian antiquities chief claims is offensive to his country's image.
"If this is not done, we will withdraw the Egyptian antiquities from the show," Hawass said, adding that he was confident that the Gianadda foundation will heed his request.
Contacted by AFP, Leonard Gianadda was unavailable for comment.
The pro-government Egyptian daily Rose el-Yussef reported on Tuesday that Jacot's pictures "portray the Nile as a swamp full of dead animals and waste..."
"Despite all the beautiful places she visited (Jacot) found nothing better than to display these pictures which are prejudicial to Egypt," the newspaper said.
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