- Associated Press - Thursday, July 6, 2017

HELSINKI (AP) - Norway says it is returning a stolen Buddha sculpture to Myanmar that was smuggled out of the country in 2011.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende, who is visiting Myanmar, says the sculpture will be returned during his visit. He says Thursday that that the Scandinavian country “wants to help stolen cultural objects be returned to the country of origin in line with international agreements.”

The sculpture, believed to be 150-200 years old, is made of alabaster, lacquer, gold and glass. It was discovered by a Norwegian customs officer in 2011.

Brende urged all countries to safeguard and return cultural objects. He says he is concerned the illegal trade in cultural objects is increasing and is “finding new forms and often occurring through international criminal networks.”

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