An Italian court on Monday ordered the government to return an ancient statue of Venus to Libya, local media reported.
Rejecting a plea from the Italia Nostra conservation group, the Lazio regional court said international accords "obliged" Italy to return the Greek statue, found by an Italian expedition in 1913 at the ancient city Cyrene.
A lawyer acting for the Libyan government, Edmondo Zappacosta, hailed the ruling.
"This is a granite-like sentence, with solid arguments," he said. "On the basis of historical and juridical considerations, it was virtually a foregone conclusion that the Italia Nostra appeal would be rejected."
Italia Nostra said it would appeal the verdict to the Council of State, Italy's top administrative tribunal.
The legal battle over the statue has been running for more than four years, the reports said.
Italian former premier Silvio Berlusconi in October 2002 pledged a swift return of the statue in talks with Libyan leader Muammar Ghadafi.
He said the armless, headless statue -- a Roman copy of a Hellenistic original in the style of famous Greek sculptor Praxiteles -- would return within a matter of weeks.
But Italia Nostra started its fight to keep the statue in Italy, appealing against an August 2002 decree that turned it into state, rather than public, property - in view of the scheduled restitution.
... can't recall reading about this in the news before ...