What is this tension over the Parthenon friezes between Greece and the UK?

What is this tension over the Parthenon friezes between Greece and the UK?

There is a mystery surrounding the Parthenon friezes on display at the British Museum, and the diplomatic relationship between the UK and Greece is at a standstill. in home 20 minutesWe summarize the situation for you.

What happened ?

The Greek Prime Minister cut short his visit to the United Kingdom, after canceling a meeting scheduled for Tuesday with his British counterpart. On Monday, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak canceled a meeting scheduled for midday on Tuesday with his counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who expressed his “dissatisfaction” and cut short his visit, according to Athens.

The origin of the tension? The Parthenon friezes are on display at the British Museum. Athens demands the return of work, but London refuses. Greece’s positions on the issue of the Parthenon’s friezes are well known. “I was hoping to have the opportunity to discuss the matter with my British counterpart.” On Tuesday, Downing Street explained the cancellation of the meeting by saying the Greek leader had failed to fulfill his commitment not to use his visit as a “public platform” on the issue.

Who owns these friezes?

London claims that the sculptures were “legally acquired” in 1802 by British diplomat Lord Elgin, who sold them to the Museum of London. Greece insists it was the target of “plunder” when the country was under Ottoman occupation. said Kyriakos Mitsotakis, an enthusiastic supporter of the return of the famous ancient marble to Athens BBC That keeping part of the Parthenon’s friezes outside Greece was tantamount to “cutting the Mona Lisa (Mona Lisa) in two.”

“It’s not a question of ownership for me, it’s a question of reuniting” the friezes spread particularly between the Acropolis Museum and the British Museum in London, he added. A Greek government source insisted on Tuesday that “the marble issue was on the agenda of the meeting among other bilateral and international issues as it had been in the past (…) Downing Street was aware of this.”

What then?

For Greece, the solution could come from the British opposition. On the other hand, the Greek Prime Minister met with the leader of the opposition Labor Party, Keir Starmer, on the basis of the winner of the opinion polls in the elections scheduled for next year. The Labor leader said before the interview that he would tell the Greek Prime Minister that a Labor government would not change the law, but that he would not be opposed to a loan that would be acceptable to the British Museum and the Greek government.

Rishi Sunak has always been “consistent” and believes the Parthenon Marbles are an “important asset” for the UK, which has “preserved” this heritage “for generations”, his spokesman said on Monday. At the top of the Acropolis is the Parthenon, built in the 5th century BC in honor of the goddess Athena. The new Acropolis Museum, which opened in 2009, has designated a site to house the Parthenon’s friezes.

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