Europe 1 with AFP 3:52 p.m., October 8, 2021

Emmanuel Macron announced Friday that France will return to Benin at the end of October 26 works of art looted from the Abomey Palace in the nineteenth century and claimed by the country, as it had committed to in 2018. The president is respecting a commitment that had been greeted by the Beninese authorities.

They will return to their country of origin.

Emmanuel Macron announced Friday that France will return to Benin at the end of October 26 works of art looted from the Abomey Palace in the nineteenth century and claimed by the country, as it had committed to in 2018. The president is respecting a commitment that had been greeted by the Beninese authorities.

"We will also do it with the Ivory Coast", adds Macron

"At the end of October, we will return 26 treasures to Benin" in a ceremony organized in the presence of Beninese President Patrice Talon, said Emmanuel Macron at the Africa-France summit held in Montpellier, during a round table on restitutions of works of art looted from Africa.

"We will also do it with the Ivory Coast," he added.

This announcement is part of a commitment made in November 2018 to return 26 works of art claimed by Benin, from the "Béhanzin Treasury" looted at the Abomey Palace in 1892 during the colonial wars.

This decision followed a report from academics Bénédicte Savoy, from the Collège de France, and Felwine Sarr, from the University of Saint-Louis in Senegal.

Works kept at the Quai Branly museum

The two specialists had laid the groundwork for a return to sub-Saharan Africa of works of early art transferred during colonization, listing tens of thousands of works potentially concerned. In December 2020, the French Parliament approved the return of these 26 pieces to Benin, now kept at the Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac museum in Paris.

"They will be the pride of Benin. And because returning works to Africa is to make their culture accessible to African youth, these returns will also be the pride of France," added Emmanuel Macron in a tweet.

The restitution of works of art looted from Africa is one of the salient points of the "new relationship" that the French head of state intends to forge with the continent.

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