Sunak cancels Greek PM meeting in Parthenon Sculptures rowon November 27, 2023 at 10:43 pm

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who wants the Parthenon Sculptures returned, is described as “disappointed”.

The Parthernon Marbles, also known as the Elgin MarblesImage source, Reuters

A diplomatic row has broken out between the British and Greek governments over the Elgin Marbles.

The Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was due to meet Rishi Sunak in London, but No 10 cancelled it at the last minute.

A spokesman for the Greek prime minister told the BBC that he was “disappointed” the meeting had been cancelled “at the 11th hour”.

The British government confirmed the meeting had been cancelled.

The cancellation came they day after Mr Mitsotakis told the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg that the marbles should be returned.

A spokesman for the Office of the Greek Prime Minister told the BBC: “The Prime Minister is disappointed that Prime Minister Sunak cancelled their bilateral meeting at the 11th hour today.”

“Greece and Britain have a very deep history of friendship and cooperation, and the Greek government is extremely surprised by this decision.

“The prime minister was looking forward to discussing a range of topics of mutual interest including the Israel-Gaza conflict, Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, climate change, as well as common challenges such as migration, and of course the Parthenon Sculptures.”

Sources with knowledge of the mood in the Greek government said Mr Mitsotakis was “baffled” and “annoyed.”

The meeting had been due to happen at lunchtime tomorrow and, the BBC understands, was due to last 45 minutes.

But Mr Mitsotakis’s appearance on the the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme had irritated Rishi Sunak.

The Greek prime minister said the Elgin Marbles ought to be returned as having some of the artefacts in London and the rest in Athens is like cutting the Mona Lisa in half.

The marbles, also known as the Parthenon Sculptures, are ancient Greek treasures in the British Museum brought to the UK by the British diplomat Lord Elgin in the early 19th Century.

The British government confirmed the cancellation and said the deputy prime minister would meet the Greek PM instead.

A senior Conservative source said: “It became impossible for this meeting to go ahead following commentary regarding the Elgin marbles prior to it.

“Our position is clear – the Elgin Marbles are part of the permanent collection of the British museum and belong here. It is reckless for any British politician to suggest that this is subject to negotiation.”

Mr Mitsotakis met the Labour leader Keir Starmer earlier.

- Advertisement -

Discover

Sponsor

Latest

World Cup 2022: Saudi Arabia beat Argentina 2-1 in Group C openeron November 22, 2022 at 12:57 pm

Saudi Arabia, ranked 51st in the world, pull off one of the World Cup's biggest shocks as they beat two-time winners Argentina in Lusail.Ranked...

US to ban Russian diamond and vodka importson March 11, 2022 at 4:42 pm

US President Joe Biden also says there are plans to revoke Russia’s status as an equal trade partner.Image source, EPAUS President Joe Biden has...

Ukraine conflict: How much damage has Russia done to power supplies?on November 27, 2022 at 1:09 am

Russian air strikes have hit power supplies and health services, putting millions of lives at risk.Russian air strikes have hit power supplies and health...

Hand cycling has given me my freedom backon December 5, 2021 at 9:01 am

Amputee Neil Russell is planning to embark on a challenge to cycle around Scotland on his hand bike.

Joanna Simpson: Government blocks wife killer’s automatic releaseon October 11, 2023 at 11:54 pm

Robert Brown was set to be freed after killing his wife Joanna Simpson with a claw hammer in 2010.Robert Brown was set to be...