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Britain has no intention of returning to Greece the Parthenon marble sculptures controversially removed from the Athens temple in the early 19th century by British diplomat Lord Elgin, as they belong to the British Museum by law, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Monday.
MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik – 13th March, 2023) Britain will not return to Greece the Parthenon marble sculptures controversially removed from the temple in Athens in the early 19th century by British diplomat Lord Elgin, as they belong to the British Museum Act British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Monday.
Greece has sought for decades to get back what it says were illegally exported 2,500-year-old relics. London claims that the sculptures were legally purchased by Elgin from the Ottoman officials who ruled Greece at the time, and are now legally owned by the British Museum.
“Britain has looked after the Elgin marbles for generations,” Sunak told reporters on the way home from the US, as quoted by The Guardian newspaper, adding that “our galleries and museums are funded by the taxpayer because they are huge property for this. land.
The prime minister emphasized that the collection of ancient Greek sculptures belonging to the British Museum is protected by law and the British authorities “have no plans to change that.”
“We share their treasures with the world and the world comes to Britain to see them,” he added.
Greek media reported in December 2022 that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was in secret talks with George Osborne, the chairman of the British Treasury. Meanwhile, the British Museum may consider returning the sculptures only on loan, according to The Guardian.