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Armed group 'traded stolen art for arms'

New York (Reuter) - An armed group that operated on Lebanese territory gave a major power looted jewellery and art reportedly worth billions of dollars in return for $22m (pounds 14m) in weapons, Lebanon said yesterday.

"In the middle of the 1970s, a non-Lebanese armed group operating on Lebanese territory stole a large number of rare art [works] consisting of 10,000 pieces of jewellery, statues and sculptures", Adnan Mansour of Lebanon told the UN General Assembly, during a debate on the return of cultural works to countries of origin.

"That organisation in 1984 gave those pieces to a major power in return for weapons," he said. However, he did not identify either the organisation or the country.