Ministry threatens to end contract with company rehabbing pyramid

Minister of Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim Ali threatened on Friday to terminate the contract of the company conducting reconstruction work on the Saqqara Pyramid.

Ali said he would take strict action against the company, and that might include terminating the contract.

The conflict began when the Shorbagy Company tasked with the reconstruction work suspended operations due to the ministry’s failure to pay the agreed upon fees.

On Thursday Shorbagy Company sent a letter to the Ministry of Antiquities on Thursday saying it would halt work on the pyramid in mid-October if the ministry did not agree to new terms of payment.

Ali said in a statement Friday that the letter sent by the company was a "clear and explicit threat."

Al-Masry Al-Youm reported that the UNESCO had asked the Ministry of Antiquities to look into the structural and conservation problems afflicting the Saqqara Pyramid, prompting Ali to form a committee of professors from Cairo University’s Faculty of Engineering to examine the pyramid and send a report to the UNESCO.

The pyramid, which is more than 4,600 years old, was constructed from limestone for Pharaoh Joser, who ruled from 2686-2613 BC.

Six unequal steps form the pyramid, which is 62 meters high. Inside, the pyramid has a network of corridors and a granite and marble burial chamber.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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