Parthenon Marbles: UK’s PM Sunak cancels meeting with Greek counterpart Mitsotakis

Nov 27, 2023

In a surprised and totally undiplomatic move, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak cancelled a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis scheduled to take place on Tuesday morning.

Prior to the literally last minute cancellation on Monday evening, there were statements by the Sunak’s spokesperson who ruled out any possibility of  “return or lending” of the Parthenon Marbles, an issue that was high in the agenda of the Greek premier.

In short statement, Mitsotakis expressed his annoyance about the unprecedented move by Downing Street

“I express my annoyance at the fact that the British Prime Minister canceled our scheduled meeting a few hours before it took place. Greece’s positions on the issue of the Parthenon Marbles are known. I was hoping to have the opportunity to discuss it with my British counterpart as well, along with the major challenges of the international moment: Gaza, Ukraine, Climate crisis, migration. Anyone who believes in the correctness and justice of their positions is never afraid of confronting arguments.”

It is recalled that the Greek PM is in London on a three-day visit where in meetings with both the British PM and the leader of the Labor opposition, Keir Starmer, he would raise the issue of the Parthenon Marbles.

Starmer had declared he would commit himself to their return to Greece once he becomes UK’s Prime Minister.

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According Greek  media, Sunak was annoyed about the meeting Mitsotakis-Starmer and he cancelled while this meeting was taking place.

According to Daily Mirror, the British Prime Minister insists that the British Museum is the “right place” for the Parthenon Marbles to remain, with his spokesman saying “we have a permanent position, I think the Prime Minister has pointed out that the Sculptures of Parthenon in the British Museum were legally acquired according to the laws of the time. They legally belong to the administrators of the British Museum,” he said.

Regarding the possibility of a “loan” agreement between Greece and the British Museum, Sunak ‘s spokesman said: “There are no plans to change our approach, we believe the museum is the right place,” he said, adding that “we are looking after the marbles for generations and we want this to continue. People regularly come to the UK to see the marbles and there are no plans to change that or change the law.”

The spokesman’s statements came after the interview of Kyriakos Mitsotakis on the BBC who referred to the need to reunite the sculptures of the Parthenon, while comparing their preservation in the United Kingdom to cutting the “Mona Lisa in half.”  Mitsotakis reiterated that the Parthenon Marbles were stolen

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