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Society

Report Says Parthenon Marbles Will Return to Greece in 2023

ATHENS – The question of whether the stolen Parthenon Marbles housed at the British Museum for 200 years will be returned to Greece remains up in the air with contradictory reports over a secret deal said in the works.

The Art newspaper and news site said that it’s likely the sculptures ripped off the Parthenon by Scottish diplomat Lord Elgin and then sold to the museum when he got into financial trouble will come home to Athens early in 2023.

That’s only if the deal said being negotiated by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and museum Chairman George Osborne is realized although new British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the law would forbid it.

The site also claimed that the museum was pushing an agreement to only loan the marbles to Greece for 10 years, which would put a future Greek government in the precarious position of having to ship them back.

Osborne also has been tantalizing Greece by offering a “partnership” with a loan if Greece would agree to stipulate the museum owns the stolen marbles rightfully and would get other Greek treasures to display in return.

Mitsotakis, at an event in London earlier, tipped his hand when he said in response to a question that there was the prospect of a “reunification” but not return of the marbles, without clarifying what he meant.

The site said that the discussions, that have been passed down to Culture Minister Lina Mendoni and other Greek officials, was in an “advanced stage,” but New Demoracy government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou dashed that and said it was only in a preliminary phase so far.

Kyriakos had said: “A win-win solution can be found that will result in the reunification of the Parthenon sculptures in Greece, while at the same time taking into account concerns that the British Museum may have.”

The Greek newspaper Ta Nea first revealed the secret talks and said they were also close to realization and that it included a proposal for the British Museum to set up an annex somewhere in Athens to show them for a time.

That would have ended the hopes for the marbles to be displayed in the Acropolis Museum that opened in 2009 and has a glass-walled top floor reserved for their return with a direct view of the nearby Acropolis.

 

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