British Queen celebrates


Greek officials have expressed their intent to continue discussions with the British Museum regarding the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Athens, despite a recent decision by UK Prime

Minister Rishi Sunak to cancel a meeting with his Greek counterpart.

The cancellation led to a diplomatic spat between the two nations, with the UK asserting that ownership of the marbles is settled in favor of Britain, while Greece maintains its demand for their return.

The planned meeting between Sunak and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was expected to cover multiple topics, including the longstanding issue of the ancient sculptures' repatriation. However, Sunak abruptly called off the meeting hours before it was scheduled, citing concerns that Mitsotakis had breached assurances not to publicly discuss the marbles during his UK visit.

This move by Sunak caused frustration within the Greek government, denying claims that they had agreed to avoid the marble issue in public discussions. Mitsotakis declined an alternative meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden, leading to a strained exchange between the two nations.

The Greek side expressed disappointment and discontent over the cancellation, labeling it a "misstep" by the British government. Opposition parties in Greece also condemned Sunak's decision, considering the Parthenon Marbles' return as a national issue transcending political divisions.

The Parthenon Marbles, removed from Greece by British diplomat Lord Elgin in the 19th century, have been displayed at the British Museum for over two centuries. Discussions between the museum and Greek officials have explored potential compromises, such as a long-term loan, but no concrete agreement has been reached.

Despite ongoing discussions for the marbles' reunification, the UK government has taken a firm stance, emphasizing that the British Museum legally owns the antiquities and indicating that the marbles should remain part of the museum's permanent collection. This firm stance by the UK signals a challenge in achieving a resolution on the issue. Photo by Ham, Wikimedia commons.