Peru wants Machu Picchu relics returned

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Peru has formally warned Yale University that it will be sued if relics taken from Machu Picchu by famed U.S. explorer Hiram Bingham nearly a century ago are not returned, the Foreign Ministry said Friday.

"Peru has notified Yale University President Richard Levin that a lawsuit is prepared if its rights to the archaeological pieces are not recognized," the ministry said in a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press.

"We are convinced that we have sufficient proof to win in court," Foreign Minister Oscar Maurtua said in the statement, noting that Peru still preferred a settlement to a long, expensive legal fight.

The threat was delivered to Yale in a letter written by Peru's ambassador to the United States, Eduardo Ferrero, according to the statement. The letter's date was not specified.

Yale spokesman Tom Conroy said the university has been "having discussions with the government of Peru and we are hoping for a resolution that is satisfactory to all involved."

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