Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that he would raise the issue of the return of the Parthenon Sculptures with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on his trip to the UK.
Mitsotakis made the comments during an interview with Associate Editor of The Daily Telegraph Gordon Rayner, in a vis-à-vis interview held on Saturday.
“Our stance is clear, the marbles were stolen in the 19th century, they belong to the Acropolis Museum, and we have to discuss the issue in all sincerity and honesty,” the Greek premier told Rayner, who is currently in Greece on occasion of the start of the GR-Eco Islands green program at the remote island of Chalki.
“If the British government would be willing to change its stance, we could reach a settlement with the British Museum to loan cultural treasures abroad, ones that have never been outside of Greece.”
“Without wanting to get into details concerning a settlement, as it is a sensitive matter,” he noted, “I would like to openly say that I intend to raise the issue with Boris Johnson, and that I believe the British government has a role to play in this.” added Mitsotakis.
“Refusing to discuss the issue of the Parthenon Sculptures appears to me as being an anachronistic approach, considering all that’s happened regarding the return of cultural treasures,” Mitsotakis pointed out.
The prime minister continued to observe that “one has to be able to appreciate the monument’s beauty in its entirety. We are not just talking about any monument, we are talking about one that has essentially been ‘cut’ in two, half is in Athens and the other half is in the British Museum. Therefore, we are talking about the restoration of the entirety of the monument.”
“It would a great message on behalf of what [British Prime Minister] Boris Johnson calls ‘Global Britain’, if there was to be a shift on this issue, and they were willing to look at it from an entirely different angle,” he underlined.
Concerning the GR-Eco Islands green program at the island of Chalki, Mitsotakis observed that “more Greek islands will adopt this green model, and eventually it will have to be adopted at an international scale.”