Speech at the event of handing over of the Buddha statue in Myanmar

Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende's Speech when the Buddha statue that was unlawfully imported to Norway was returned to Myanmar.

Minister of Religious Affairs and Culture, director, ladies and gentlemen,

Antiques and old cultural objects are among the most precious gifts we have from the past.

They symbolize the culture, identity and history of a country.

So when old statues and antiques are stolen, it is not merely a valuable cultural object that is taken away, it is a piece of that country's history that is stolen.

A Buddha statue, made approximately 150-200 years ago in the Mandalay-region, was unlawfully imported from Thailand to Norway six years ago.

It has been a long process to identify its origin and to return it home.

Today it is a great pleasure to formally hand over the Buddha-statue to its new home here at the National Museum in Nay Pyi Taw.

We are returning a small piece of the history and culture of Myanmar back to its rightful owners.

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I want to thank Unesco for their assistance in bringing the statue home, and I wish to extend my best wishes for the future of the Buddha-statue here at the museum.

I hope that it will be of interest to the people of Myanmar, as well as experts and visiting people from all over the world.

By returning this Buddha-statue from Norway to Myanmar, a small piece of the history and culture of this country is coming home.

Thank you.