UK Sunak cancels Greek PM talks amid row of Parthenon Marbles – DW – 11/28/2023

A diplomatic conflict erupted between Greece and UK on Monday after the British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak He canceled a meeting with his Greek counterpart Kiriakos Mitsotakis.

This prompted Athens to accuse London of trying to avoid discussing the contenders The Parthenon Marbles.

The two leaders were due to hold talks at noon on Tuesday in the British capital.

“I would like to express my displeasure at the British Prime Minister’s cancellation of our meeting hours before it was due to take place,” the Greek prime minister said in a statement.

The BBC reported that Mitsotakis turned down an offer to meet British Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden in exchange for a meeting with Sunak.

Here’s what Sunak and Mitsotakis had to say about the meeting

Mitsotakis was responsible for Greece’s decades-long demand for a bailout Ancient sculptures from British Museum in London.

“Greece and Britain are linked by traditional bonds of friendship, and the scope of our bilateral relations is very broad,” Mitsotakis said. “Greece’s positions on the issue of the Parthenon sculptures are well known. Along with the current major international challenges of Gaza, Ukraine, climate change and immigration, I hoped to have the opportunity to discuss them with my British counterpart. The positions are well established and are never afraid to engage in debate.”

The Parthenon Marbles in the British Museum have long irritated GreeceImage: Jay Shaw Baker/NurPhoto/Image Alliance/dpa

“The UK-Greece relationship is very important,” Sunak’s office said in a statement, making no mention of the controversial sculptures. “From our work together in NATO to tackle shared challenges like illegal migration, to joint efforts to resolve the Middle East crisis and the war in Ukraine.”

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The statement added: “The Deputy Prime Minister was ready to meet the Greek Prime Minister to discuss these important issues.”

What is the Parthenon Marbles Row?

Greece has long called for the return of the sculptures, which were taken by British diplomat Lord Elgin in the early 19th century.

Sculptures originally adorned the 2,500-year-old Parthenon temple on the Acropolis. However, they have been on display in the British Museum for over 200 years.

Half of the survivors Marble worksSometimes referred to Elgin Marblesare in London, and the rest are in a purpose-built museum under the Acropolis.

In March this year, Sunak vowed not to change UK law This means that the pieces of the Parthenon cannot be sent back to Greece.

jsi/rt (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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