Egypt Tries to Thwart Sale of Ancient Statue in U.K.

Former Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass challenges British museum, but says has no intentions of demanding the return of the statue to Egypt.

Zahi Hawass
Former Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass AP

Egypt is challenging a British museum's planned sale of a 4,000-year-old Egyptian statue expected to fetch up to 6 million pounds ($10 million) at auction in London.

Former Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass told the BBC Wednesday that Northampton Museum and Art Gallery has no right to sell the statue. He said Egypt was asking only to stop the sale, not for the return of the statue.

Northampton Council, the local government body, says it wants to sell the statue to help fund an expansion to Northampton Museum and Art Gallery.

The 75 centimeter (30 inches) high limestone statue depicts an official named Sekhema with his wife, and goes up for auction at Christie's in London on Thursday.