THERE were reports last week that a deal between Greece and the British Museum over the Parthenon marbles could be close. It was said that talks were in “advanced stages” and the stones could begin moving “sooner rather than later”.
But now the Greek ministry of culture has hit out at the idea of a “long-term loan” of the sculptures, saying they do not accept they belong to the museum to lend to anyone.
“We repeat, once again, our country’s firm position that it does not recognize the British Museum’s jurisdiction, possession and ownership of the Sculptures, as they are the product of theft” the ministry was reported as saying in Greek newspaper Kathimerini last week.
Former Chancellor George Osborne is now Chairman of the museum. The institution is planning a regeneration that is set to start with the rooms the marbles are stored in. There have been leaks in the ceilings of those rooms, meaning they have had to be shut at various times.
The stones were taken from the Acropolis in Athens by Lord Elgin in the early 19th century. It is not clear if the British Government would try to stop the stones leaving the UK.