Tajikistan's president wants Britain to return to his country a collection of ancient gold and silver, known as the Oxus treasure, which is kept at the British Museum, his office said Wednesday.
"The president has given orders to take the necessary steps to return the most valuable artifacts of the Amu Darya treasure," President Emomali Rakhmon's office said in a statement.
Amu Darya is the modern name of the Oxus River, which marks the Tajikistan-Afghanistan border.
The Oxus treasure consists of about 170 objects dating from the 5th and 4th centuries B.C., including vessels, model chariots and figures, armlets, seals, finger-rings, dedicatory plaques and coins.
The artifacts were discovered in the 19th century. Much of the collection was bequeathed to the British Museum by a wealthy British benefactor, Sir August Wollaston Franks, who bought the artifacts from merchants and a British archaeologist, according to the British Museum.