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Britain’s culture secretary said in an interview on Wednesday that the Parthenon marbles “belong here in the UK” and should not be returned to Greece.
These works, known in the UK as the Elgin Marbles, are now in the British Museum.
Recent reports have indicated that the head of the British Museum, George Osborne, is on the verge of arriving deal with Government Greece Until the pellets temporarily return to Greece.
Returning them permanently to Greece is “not the intention” of the British government, Michelle Donnellan told the BBC, as it “opens Pandora’s box” and would be a “dangerous route” to take.
“This will open the door to the questioning of all the contents in our museums,” he said.
The classical marble carvings are part of the frieze of the Parthenon in Athens. The British diplomat and soldier Lord Elgin removed them in the 19th century. It was bought by the British government in 1816 and placed in the British Museum.
Last month, Greek newspaper Ta Nea reported that talks between the museum and the Greek government were “at an advanced stage”.
The law prohibits the British Museum from permanently returning artwork to Greece. But there has been speculation that a deal could see the sculptures sent to Athens on loan on a rotating basis, in exchange for classical objects never seen outside Greece.
Greece has been pressing for years to return the artworks.
“We shouldn’t take them back.”
Britain’s culture secretary confirmed on Wednesday that she had done so “Different Conversations” with Head of the British Museum. “I think his point of view on this was misunderstood and certainly portrayed incorrectly,” he said.
“He’s just not willing to pay it back, basically. That’s not his intention. He has no desire to do that. There’s also a discussion about this concept of a 100-year loan, which is definitely not what he’s planning either.”
“He agreed with me on that We shouldn’t take them back. And they really belong here in the UK where we’ve taken care of them for so long, letting them have access to them.”
On Wednesday, Greece’s prime minister said an agreement to return the marbles was not forthcoming.
But Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who hopes to win a second term in July, said: “If the Greek people trust us again, I think we can achieve this goal after the elections.”
The Greek Ministry of Culture said earlier that the country’s “consistent position” is that it “does not recognize the jurisdiction, possession and ownership of the sculptures in the British Museum”.
A museum spokesperson said they were not “dismantling” their collection, but were “looking for it.” Long term partnerships Which allows us to share some of our best stuff with audiences around the world.”
He added, “Discussions with Greece regarding the Parthenon Assembly are continuing and constructive.”
The Parthenon Project, which is campaigning in Britain for a mutually satisfactory solution to the spheres, said there was public support for a deal and that “we need to Keep an open mind About what kind of solution George Osborne is working on.
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