British and Greek Prime Ministers talked Turkey and Parthenon Sculptures

British and Greek Prime Ministers talked Turkey and Parthenon Sculptures 1

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson met at 10 Downing Street in London on Tuesday where they discussed the full range of Greece-United Kingdom relations including  relevant topics such as the Parthenon Sculptures and Turkey’s destabilising role in the Eastern Mediterranean.

British and Greek Prime Ministers talked Turkey and Parthenon Sculptures 3According to government sources, Prime Minister Mitsotakis  congratulated Boris Johnson on his effective presence at the COP26 climate change summit held in Glasgow, and for his efforts towards a result, in an issue that is both crucial and complex, it was added.

Regarding EU-UK relations, Mitsotakis welcomed the continuation of the dialogue between these two sides on the Northern Ireland Protocol, and he underlined the need for its implementation in the context of the United Kingdom’s commitments under the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement.

Turkey’s destabilising role in the Eastern Mediterranean  leaves little room for optimism in terms of a dialogue said the Greek Prime Minister adding that Greece, always stands ready for said dialogue, in the context of International Law, the Law of the Sea, and in respect for its sovereign rights.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis reiterated to Johnson Greece’s standing demand for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures, noting that the time has come to meet Greece’s fair request, and see to the restoration of the monument in its entirety at the Acropolis Museum, sources noted.

Speaking about the issue to Greek journalists in London after his meeting with Johnson, Mitsotakis said that “our request is not a flare. We will insist, methodically, to build the necessary foundations within British public opinion for the need to reunite the Parthenon Marbles with the sculptures of the Acropolis Museum. It is an important issue, one that relates to our bilateral relations,” he underlined.

Moreover, he added, “this is not a legal issue per se, it is, above all, both a matter of principle, as well as a political issue,” and he concluded by saying that “ we will employ all means at our disposal to meet this target of ours.”

The Greek prime minister’s meeting with his British counterpart was attended by New Democracy MP Tassos Chatzivassiliou, Greek Ambassador to the UK Ioannis Raptakis, ambassador Anna-Maria-Eleni Boura of the Prime Minister’s Diplomatic Office, deputy government spokesperson Aristotelia Peloni, and the Director of the Prime Minister’s Economic Office Alexis Patelis.

 

British and Greek Prime Ministers talked Turkey and Parthenon Sculptures 4
Boris Johnson, then-Oxford University Union president, with former Greek culture minister Melina Mercouri in 1986.

Mitsotakis noted that in 1986 Melina Merkouri, the Greek former culture minister and fervent campaigner for the return of the marbles, was invited by Johnson to the Oxford Union to talk on the issue, and at the time he was a passionate supporter of returning the marbles, he stressed.

Mitsotakis underlined that he would continue to interact with both the British government and the British Museum on the issue.