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British PM Rishi Sunak cancels assembly with Greek PM as a consequence of row over historical sculptures

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Britain’s Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer, left, meets with the Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis in London, November 27, 2023.
| Photo Credit: AP

U.Okay. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak cancelled his assembly with visiting Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Monday, over the latter’s feedback on historical sculptures housed within the British Museum. Mr Mitsotakis was as a substitute supplied a gathering with the U.Okay.’s Deputy Prime Minister , which he declined.

The Parthenon Sculptures or Elgin Marbles, which date again to the fifth Century BCE, had been purchased by the British Museum in 1816 from Thomas Bruce (“Lord Elgin“) who was, at the time, the British Ambassador to the former Ottoman Empire. A part of the sculpture is still in Athens, housed in the Acropolis Museum. Critics have claimed that Lord Elgin stole the sculptures. The British Museum refutes this claim on its website, saying his acquisition was “entirely legal”.

Mr Mitsotakis, who heads Greece’s centre-right New Democracy get together, was re-elected in June this yr and had stated he would see a return of the marbles to their unique dwelling if re-elected.

Speaking to the BBC whereas in London, Mr Mitsotakis had in contrast the state of affairs to reducing the Mona Lisa in half and splitting it between the Musée du Louvre Paris (the place it’s presently housed) and the British Museum.

Mr Mitsotakis stated he had hoped to debate not simply the sculptures, but in addition Gaza, Ukraine, local weather change and migration with Mr Sunak.

“I express my annoyance at the fact that the British Prime Minister canceled our scheduled meeting a few hours before it was due to take place,” Mr Mitsotakis stated in an announcement, during which he stated Greece’s place on the sculptures was well-known.

“Anyone who believes his stance is right and just is never afraid of opposing arguments,” he stated.

Mr Mitsotakis, nonetheless, did meet with the chief of the opposition, the Labour Party’s Keir Starmer, previous to his scheduled assembly with Mr Sunak.

The Labour chief has reportedly proven a willingness to lend the marbles to Athens if he involves energy. Mr Starmer and the Labour get together have vital leads over Mr Sunak and the Conservative Party in opinion polls in regards to the subsequent basic elections that are due no later than January 2025.

“With Labour, Britain and Greece will remain strong partners,” Mr Mitsotakis wrote on social media web site X.

Having as soon as been the phrase’s dominant colonial energy, the U.Okay. is dwelling to cultural treasures , a lot of which was obtained utilizing questionable means. Among these cultural artifacts is the ‘Koh-i-noor’ diamond, claimed by India and different nations.

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