Today: Tuesday, 5 March 2024 year

The Greek Prime Minister refused to meet with the British Deputy Prime Minister.

The Greek Prime Minister refused to meet with the British Deputy Prime Minister.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis refused to meet with British Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden instead of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, British Transport Minister Mark Harper said on the BBC on Tuesday.

“The Deputy Prime Minister offered to meet with the Prime Minister of Greece today, but this proved impossible (due to Mitsotakis’s refusal) … The government has made its position on the Elgin Marbles very clear: they should remain part of the permanent collection of the British Museum,” he said.

Earlier, Mitsotakis said in a statement that the British side had canceled a meeting with Sunak scheduled for Tuesday, in connection with which he expressed disappointment because he had hoped to discuss the return of the Parthenon marbles from the British Museum. The Greek Prime Minister previously told reporters that the Parthenon sculptures currently in the British Museum were stolen, and the question of their ownership is not raised, the question is their reunification with the sculptures in Athens.

The British envoy to Constantinople from 1799 to 1803, Lord Elgin, removed a huge number of works of ancient Greek art, which were bought by the British Museum. The collection includes pediment statues and metopes of the Athenian Parthenon, a caryatid of the Erechtheion, a statue of Dionysus and many other unique works. Greece says there were no permits to export the sculptures and is seeking the return of illegally exported works of art. The UK claims the sculptures were legally acquired by Lord Elgin and are now the rightful owner of the British Museum.

In March, the Guardian newspaper, citing Sunak, reported that Britain had no plans to return the Parthenon marbles to Greece.