Cyprus to ask UK why vase given to Thatcher was sold off

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NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus will seek an explanation from the British government over how an ancient vase given to the late Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as a state gift has ended up on the auction block.

A Cyprus official says Cyprus’ embassy in London would raise the issue with U.K. authorities.

In a tweet, art historian Maria Paphiti found that the 2,700-year-old vase had been sold at Christie’s auction house in May for nearly 7,000 euros ($7,700).

The vase was given to Thatcher by former Cyprus President George Vassiliou three decades ago.

The government official, who spoke Friday on condition of anonymity because he’s not authorized to speak publicly about the issue, said diplomatic protocol bars selling off state gifts.

It’s unclear how the vase ended up at the auction.

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