France decided on Friday to return to Egypt five relics stolen from Luxor's Valley of the Kings and sold to the Louvre, two days after Cairo severed ties with the Paris museum in protest.
A special commission of the French museums agency decided unanimously to hand over the five painted wall fragments after ruling that they were indeed stolen in the 1980s before ending up at the Louvre in 2000 and 2003.
"Restitution is now just a matter of weeks," said a culture ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Egypt on Wednesday severed all ties with the Louvre to press demands that the Paris museum return the artifacts.
The French government has said the Louvre acted in good faith when it purchased the relics and that doubts were only raised in November after archaeologists discovered the tomb and the missing fragments.
Egyptian Antiquities chief Zahi Hawass told AFP in Cairo that he believed the Paris museum had bought the antiquities even though its curators knew they were stolen.
"The purchase of stolen steles is a sign that some museums are prepared to encourage the destruction and theft of Egyptian antiquities," said Hawass.