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No deal between MFA, Italian officials

A daylong meeting between the Museum of Fine Arts and the Italian officials who contend the museum has looted artwork in its collection ended without an agreement yesterday. But the two parties, in a joint statement, agreed to keep talking to resolve the matter in ''a timely fashion."

MFA director Malcolm Rogers and deputy director Katherine Getchell, who traveled to Rome for yesterday's meeting at the Department of Culture, declined comment through museum spokeswoman Dawn Griffin.

The Italians -- represented by a contingent that included State Attorney Maurizio Fiorilli and ministry official Giuseppe Proietti -- and the MFA agreed that they would communicate to the media only through the paragraph-long joint statement.

The meeting took place in the midst of the high-profile trial of former J. Paul Getty Museum curator Marion True and art dealer Robert Hecht, who are accused of participating in an art-smuggling ring that placed works illegally taken from Italian soil in American museums, including the MFA.

The Getty and Metropolitan Museum of Art have agreed to return a number of antiquities. Griffin wouldn't say what evidence the Italians shared with the MFA officials.

According to the statement, the two sides ''discussed the provenance of certain Italian antiquities in the Museum's collection. The parties agreed to continue discussions in order to resolve issues raised, in a timely fashion, with a view to furthering cultural understanding and cooperation."

Geoff Edgers can be reached at gedgers@globe.com.

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