This article constitutes the first systematic attempt to synthesize the role of politics as an affecting dynamic during the negotiation of cultural property disputes. The article limits its scope to disputes concerning the ownership of cultural artifacts between states and museums settled through negotiation and to the subsequent claims for the return of the contested objects. The discussion focuses on four ways in which the negotiation process is affected when states act as claimants, including the discourse and argumentation used, the available means to pressure the other party to negotiate, the possible political interventions, and the international political scene and its effect on the development of the dispute. Through the examination of multiple case studies, it is argued that in such disputes, several elements related to the role of politics are at interplay affecting the evolution of the negotiation process. Finally, it is also argued that the role of politics as an affecting dynamic during the negotiation process is multi-dimensional, consisting of many different interrelated dynamics that can potentially alter the course of the process.