The proposal was authored by Egyptian intellectual AbdallahMahfouz, who argued that renting historical sites could helpbreathe new life into the country’s economy.Earlier this week, Adel Abdel Sattar, Egypt’s secretary general ofthe Supreme Council of Antiquities, reportedly confirmed in aninterview with local station ONTV the existence of the proposal torent Egypt’s main monuments – including the pyramids at Giza, theSphinx, the Abu Simbel Temple and the temples of Luxor – tointernational tourism firms.“But is it possible that we rent our monuments? … This is ourheritage, our roots,” the official was quoted as saying. Sattarsaid he received a request from the Finance Ministry to study theproposal, which has sparked outrage from local archeologists andtheir international counterparts.”Cry dear Sphinx, people want to rent you out and maybe latercut you into pieces and sell you! Shame on those who want to rentyou. You are the symbol of dignity, power and Egypt’s ancientcivilization,” Egyptology professor Ahmed Saeed of CairoUniversity wrote on his Facebook page, according toAhramonline.The country’s antiquities ministry has reportedly rejected thecontroversial plan, which became the talk of the town and gave riseto various rumors. The Gulf state of Qatar reportedly expressedinterest in renting Egypt’s landmarks for five years for $200billion, according to Al Arabiya.Two years after the rise of the Arab Spring and the fall ofPresident Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s economic downturn has resulted inhigher budget deficits. Currency reserves are said to be at acritical level – $14 billion, or three months’ worth of imports –according to US Ambassador Ann Patterson, who said the “reservesare kept afloat only due to regular injections of cash by Qatar andTurkey.”While financial hardships have weakened the country’s economy,protests have also paralyzed the country’s tourismindustry.
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