In a letter sent Tuesday, Peruvian President Alan Garcia formally asked President Barack Obama to assist in efforts to have artifacts currently held at Yale but discovered at the ancient city of Machu Picchu returned to Peru. He added that it is “just and necessary” for Obama to help Peru in this matter.

The letter follows a Tuesday report in the Peruvian news agency Andina which quoted the United States Ambassador to Peru as saying the U.S. government hopes the conflict will be resolved quickly. The ambassador, Rose M. Likins, added that she cannot make additional comments because the U.S. government is not party to the disagreement.

“Obviously, we hope it will be settled as soon as possible, but I cannot say anything else because we’re not taking part in the dispute,” Likins said.

Likins, who was confirmed in August as new ambassador to Peru, added that the Obama administration will likely renew a 1997 commitment with Peru to help protect its cultural heritage.

In December 2008, Peru first sued Yale in the US for return of the artifacts but recently indicated a willingness to press further charges in order to hasten the artifacts’ return to Peru.