Greece Changes Tune on Marbles

Greece’s culture minister Nikos Xydakis listens a question during an interview with the Associated Press in Athens, Friday, May 15, 2015. Xydakis says he has not ruled out court action for the return of the ancient Parthenon Sculptures from the British Museum in London, but diplomacy still seems the most effective option. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

ATHENS — Greece’s Culture Minister says he has not ruled out court action to try and force the return of the ancient Parthenon Sculptures from the British Museum in London, but diplomacy still seems to be the most effective option.

Nikos Xydakis told The Associated Press that political and diplomatic efforts have won over British public opinion to Greece’s case — although the London museum insists it legally acquired the marble works and has no plans to hand them back.

Last year, London lawyers including Amal Clooney, wife of U.S. actor George Clooney, raised the possibility of Greece going to court. International advocacy groups backing Athens expressed dismay after Xydakis was quoted as rejecting the idea.

Lord Elgin, a Scottish nobleman, removed the works from the Parthenon Temple on the Acropolis over two centuries ago.