US museum to return looted art to Italy

ROME (AP) -- A U.S. museum will return 14 ancient treasures ranging from Etruscan jewelry to a Medieval cross that authorities say were looted or stolen from Italy.

Italian Culture Ministry officials and the director of the The Cleveland Museum of Art signed a deal Wednesday to return the artifacts within three months in exchange for long-term loans of other treasures.

The agreement is the latest success in an Italian campaign to recover artifacts that survived for centuries only to be dug up by looters, exported illegally and sold to prestigious museums across the world.

Similar deals have yielded the return of scores of pieces from museums including the J. Paul Getty in Los Angeles and the Metropolitan in New York.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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