British Prime Minister Boris Johnson ruled out the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece in an interview printed Friday, insisting the artefacts ended up legally acquired by Britain.
“The British authorities has a business and prolonged-standing place on the sculptures: they ended up legally acquired by Lord Elgin, in accordance with the legislation in force at the time,” Johnson explained to Greek newspaper Ta Nea.
He insisted that the 2500-calendar year-previous sculptures, commonly acknowledged as the Elgin Marbles, “have been legally owned by the British Museum’s Trustees due to the fact their acquisition.
The sculptures are the subject of a very long-jogging dispute between the two countries.
They were being stripped from Athens’ Parthenon Temple on the Acropolis by Scottish nobleman Thomas Bruce, known as Lord Elgin, in the early 1800s and shipped to Britain.
Elgin marketed the marbles to the British government, which in 1817 passed them on to the British Museum where they continue being a person of its most prized exhibits.
Johnson’s assertion that the sculptures belong to Britain comes as Greece readies to commemorate the bicentennial of the country’s 1821 revolution on March 25.
To mark the situation, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis experienced requested the short term repatriation of the sculptures in exchange for artefacts that he claimed had hardly ever remaining Greece before.
Johnson, who often holidays in Greece at his father’s house, stated that though he understands the powerful sentiment of the Greek persons and Mitsotakis around the marbles, they would not be returned.
Britain has extended argued that the sculptures experienced been taken by Lord Elgin with authorization from the Ottoman Turks who ruled Greece at the time, but Athens insists the marbles were stolen.
Ta Nea mentioned Johnson’s remarks marked the initially time he has spoken on the topic as primary minister.
But his position on the situation was manufactured obvious quite a few many years back when, as mayor of London, he hit again at Hollywood star George Clooney for suggesting Britain return the marbles.
Athens, which has gained backing from a groundswell of famous people on the concern, has more than the decades claimed it does not would like to go after authorized motion to settle the bitter dispute.
It has referred to as for the United Nations cultural agency UNESCO to act as mediator, an supply rejected by the British Museum.
Greek Culture Minister Lina Mendoni previous yr reiterated that the marbles had been stolen and will have to be returned to Athens.
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