Rishi Sunak's indecency to Mitsotakis boomeranged - Politicians, polls and media against the British PM

Rishi Sunak, Kyriakos Mitsotakis

The return of Kyriakos Mitsotakis to Athens after his trip to London marks, according to government sources, the end of the dispute with Great Britain after the diplomatic unfairness of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who suddenly cancelled his meeting with his Greek counterpart. And this is because Athens wants to avoid recycling the tension, as government sources explain. At the same time, Mr Sunak inside his country continues to "damage his reputation, receiving fire from a large portion of the press. Meanwhile, 2/3 of the respondents in a poll consider that he wrongly postponed his appointment with Mr Mitsotakis.

At the same time, Downing Street is engaged in systematic damage control. On the one hand, it is leaking in the British Media that it was agreed before the meeting that Mr Mitsotakis would not raise the issue of the Parthenon sculptures; on the other hand, British Foreign Minister David Cameron invited Giorgos Gerapetritis to a short meeting, on the sidelines of the ministerial session of NATO in Brussels. It is clear that Mr Cameron did not act of his own accord but in consultation with the British government, with the two ministers agreeing that the positions on the sculptures were opposed but should not "torpedo" Greek-British relations.

"Sculptures were on the agenda"

Government sources report to Proto Thema that the British claims regarding excluding the Parthenon sculptures from the discussion between the two men are unfounded. The same sources say that the matter was up for debate, while it was also discussed at length with Labor leader Keir Starmer. An example is that Athens had no hidden agenda, from when the issue was constantly brought up in Mr Mitsotakis's summit contacts, as in 2021 in his meeting with Boris Johnson.

It is a given, however, that the position of Mr. Mitsotakis on the BBC caused the British Prime Minister's office to be disturbed. The Sun newspaper, following a leak, cites information from the British Foreign Office to Mr Mitsotakis' diplomatic adviser, Anna Maria Boura, that the content and style of the interview were outrageous.

On the other hand, Mr Sunak is under fire from many British media for his decision to cancel the meeting with Mr Mitsotakis. Indicative is the article on the editorial board of the Financial Times, in which there is talk of the failure of the Sunak government and the British Prime Minister himself, who"although he started with many hopes, has reached the point of reducing Britain in the eyes of the world with his actions.

Profile enhancement

However, Mr. Mitsotakis boosted his profile on another occasion, especially among the domestic audience. This is because the handling by Rishi Sunak has met with widespread condemnation from the Greek parties, with Stefanos Kasselakis and Nikos Androulakis expressing their support for the prime minister.

In Athens, even if this is not said officially, it thinks that the handling of Mr Sunak is also connected with the management of internal balances within Great Britain, given that the appointment of the Prime Minister with the head of Labor Keir Starmer had preceded, during which the British side announced the cancellation of the meeting.

Lord Kim Darroch, the former UK ambassador to Washington, said to the Financial Times that Sunak’s reaction was “over the top”. He added: “Generations of British ministers have sat stoically through Greek ministers lobbying for the return of the Elgin Marbles and not given an inch in reply.”

A European official said the timing and abruptness with which Sunak cancelled the meeting was “inelegant”, adding that offering a meeting with his deputy was “quite offensive”.

A former Tory cabinet minister said: “There is no explanation other than petulance and a complete lack of strategic direction.”

READ MORE: The Parthenon Sculptures and the Indian, Nigerian and other foreign cultural treasures Sunak refuses to return.

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