Ancient statue will be returned to Cambodia

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PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) - Sotheby's auction house in New York has agreed to return an ancient statue to Cambodia, ending a heated legal battle that began more than a year ago.

The agreement, signed Thursday by Sotheby's, the consignor and U.S. federal attorneys, states that the auction house will transfer the statue to a representative of Cambodia in New York within 90 days.

The statue was pulled from auction in 2011 after Cambodia expressed concerns that it had been looted from the country's Koh Ker temple complex in the early 1970s.

The U.S. government launched the legal case in 2012, after negotiations with the auction house broke down.

The decision follows the Metropolitan Museum of Art's return of two statues from the same temple in June and sets a precedent for further repatriations.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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