UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak cancels meeting with Greek PM in Parthenon Sculptures row

state budget Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has cancelled a meeting scheduled for Tuesday with his Greek counterpart Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at the 11th hour, causing a diplomatic row and a sharp rebuke by the latter, reported Associated Press.

According to some reports, the cancellation which led to this extraordinary diplomatic spat between the two allies, was attributed to a BBC interview in which the  Greek Prime Minister mentioned his intention to raise the issue of the Parthenon Sculptures with the British PM.

Late Monday Mitsotakis issued a statement to “express my annoyance at the fact that the British prime minister has cancelled our planned meeting a few hours before it was due to take place.”


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UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak cancels meeting with Greek PM in Parthenon Sculptures row 1


Commenting on the move, Mitsotakis said that "Traditional ties of friendship join Greece and Britain, and the framework of our bilateral relations is especially broad."

He noted that Greece's stance on the Parthenon Sculptures is well known, adding that he hoped "to have the opportunity to discuss it with my British counterpart, along with current challenges: Gaza, Ukraine, the climate crisis and migration."

Anyone who believes his stance is right and fair is never afraid of debating, noted Mitsotakis.

In his comments Sunday, Mitsotakis likened the collection being held at the British Museum to the Mona Lisa painting being cut in half.

Athens had been lobbying London for a deal that would return the sculptures under some kind of loan arrangement, he told the BBC.

A source from Britain's ruling Conservatives told the broadcaster Monday that "it became impossible for this meeting to go ahead following commentary regarding the Elgin Marbles prior to it".

Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024