Even Rishi Sunak's supporters fear he made the wrong decision to not meet with Mitsotakis: Sky News

Rishi Sunak

Even Rishi Sunak's supporters fear he made the wrong decision picking a fight with the Greek prime minister over the Parthenon sculptures, says political editor Beth Rigby in an article on Sky News, which expresses the opinion that the British's recent indecency of Prime Minister against Kyriakos Mitsotakis undermines the image of the mature leader he has diligently promoted up to now.

As Rigby points out, one of the few victories that Sunak can claim to have achieved in his short time as prime minister is to improve Britain's international image, having taken care to differentiate himself from his provocative style predecessors (Boris Johnson and Liz Truss) and to get the country out of the turmoil caused by Brexit.

"He was the prime minister who delivered the Windsor Framework, settling the standoff with the European Union over post-Brexit trading relationships in Northern Ireland. He has struck up a solid relationship with President Biden, signing the Atlantic Declaration signalling closer diplomatic, security and trade ties with the US while also hosting a successful global AI summit in London last month," notes the columnist, adding that Sunak "was meant to stand for professional, grown up leadership."

But then he "refused to meet the Greek prime minister in what appears to be a fit of pique after Kyriakos Mitsotakis told the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg that having the Elgin Marbles in London was like having the Mona Lisa "cut in half".

The Sky News columnist admits that the above decision of the British Prime Minister was something that confused her quite a bit, since she felt that it undermined the image that Sunak had been promoting for himself until now. That is why he sought the views of officials from across Britain's political spectrum.

A former senior diplomat described the British prime minister's recent behavior as "ludicrous" and "petulant behaviour," while a minister who supports Sunak called it a "wrong decision".

Another source from the government commented to the columnist that the only thing the British prime minister achieved by canceling the meeting with Mitsotakis was to discuss the issue more, while a high-ranking Labor official spoke of a "pathetic" action that resulted in the loss of opportunity to discuss important issues such as illegal immigration and the Middle East.

The editor wrote that as for the Number 10 team, the matter was quite simple: the Greek prime minister had agreed not to raise the matter of returning the 2,500-year-old Parthenon sculptures that once adorned the Acropolis in Athens publicly, and that agreement was broken. "It's not much more complex than that."

"Now, the UK and Greek government are embroiled in a row over the matter. Greek sources insist no such assurances were made, while Downing Street say they were."

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


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