Arguments for repatriation of Egyptian objects in general are diverse and include symbolic and nation-state as well as economic aspects. "Repatriation requests are only being made for stolen pieces and a very few unique objects that are symbols of Egypt". Not a single mummy was among the objects recently reclaimed. The rights of the current owners are cited as a reason for opposing the return of objects. In addition, the allegedly worse conditions of the museums, as well as the danger of fundamentalism, war or political unrest in Egypt are cited. However, Egyptologist Salima Ikram points out that not all "Western" museums are in the best condition either and that Egyptian museums are improving bit by bit. Ikram stresses the importance of the pharaonic past for Egypt, as it has a unifying character. So the ancient Egyptian past is of great importance for national identity today. It has an economic factor too, among other things through the income from entrance fees and increasing tourism. Ikram also points to the geopolitical situation that makes it difficult for most Egyptians to obtain a tourism visa for the European Union. This prevents them from freely deciding whether they want to visit Egyptian artefacts in London or Berlin, for example.
"Shouldn’t the modern Egyptians have access to iconic images from their past, even briefly, to help them bolster their national identity and serve as a rallying point?“ (Ikram 2011: 152).
There are no restitution claims for most objects from ancient Egypt that are in Europe and North America. Only pieces with a high symbolic and economic value and looted property are reclaimed. The subject of public debate are, for example, Egypt's demands for the return of the Rosetta Stone from the British Museum in London and the bust of Nefertiti from the Neues Museum in Berlin. In both cases, the owning museums cite arguments of fragility, the legitimacy of the acquisition as well as the scientific knowledge value. Egypt reacted to this with offers of compromise, such as an alternative exhibition of the objects at both locations. So far, no agreement has been reached in either case. Parallel to this, however, a tendency can be observed to voluntarily return stolen artefacts. In 2003, the mummy of King Ramses I was voluntarily returned to the Egyptian authorities by the Michael C. Carlos Museum in Atlanta. In the meantime, the mummy of Ramses I is exhibited in a tomb-like room in the Luxor Museum.