January 27, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Mitsotakis admits secret negotiations over Parthenon marbles

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, apparently realizing that it would be too difficult to hide and refute secret negotiations about the fate of the Parthenon Marbles, decided to make the information public, calling what was happening “secret efforts.”

Kyriakos Mitsotakis called the secret talks a “quiet effort” – his frank exchange of views with the president of the republic in a video of the state TV channel ERT.

The Prime Minister admitted that he held secret negotiations with the British Museum about the Parthenon sculptures and even directly included this issue in his election agenda, in general, everything that was previously denied.

During a meeting with Katerina Sakellaropoulou, Kyriakos Mitsotakis spoke of a “systematic and quiet effort”, thus naming a secret deal by the government to “reunite” the Parthenon sculptures, and then said: “Vote for me to return the sculptures.” He said (relevant quote from minute 0:56 onwards in the video): “I do not expect immediate results. If after the elections the people trust us again, I believe that we will achieve this goal.”

January 4-5 in a variety of international publications, mostly British, as well as in Bloomberg, reported about the imminent conclusion of an agreement between the Acropolis Museum and the British Museum – on the partial and limited in time return of the Parthenon sculptures to Greece. At the same time, according to publications, the “deal” is concluded not in the return of the Parthenon sculptures to Greeceand in lending them to the British Museum, for a couple of years and in exchange for other antiquities from Greek museums.

Reports of negotiations caused a furore in Greece, as such a deal would mean that Greece recognizes: The British Museum is the rightful owner of the sculptures stolen by Lord Elgin from the Acropolis in the early 19th century. The Greek opposition media has lashed out at the conservative government, claiming that the prime minister is going to make such a dastardly deal to use as a TV commercial and a big success for New Democracy ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections.

On January 6, the Ministry of Culture issued an official statement denial of such negotiations, at the same time declaring that it rejects any approach to the question of the Parthenon sculptures, which would mean agreeing to their return through a loan. A similar statement was made by the representative of the Government, Mr. Ikonomu.

Who lied and who continues to lie is a rhetorical question. After all, it is not for nothing that politicians and lawyers are not accepted as participants in the liars’ competition, which takes place annually in the English city of Santon Bridge. The reason for the refusal is clear: “Only amateurs participate in the competition, while politicians and lawyers are professionals.”

Reports of negotiations caused a furore in Greece, as such a deal would mean that Greece recognizes: The British Museum is the rightful owner of the sculptures stolen by Lord Elgin from the Acropolis in the early 19th century. The Greek opposition media has lashed out at the conservative government, claiming that the prime minister is going to make such a dastardly deal to use as a TV commercial and a big success for New Democracy ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections.



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