January 31, 2023

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The British government rejects the return of the Parthenon friezes to Greece

Hopes of an early return to Greece of the Parthenon friezes held by the British Museum were quickly extinguished. A summary of the information published on January 3 Daily telegramThe 75-metre-long ancient treasure has been denied any plans by the British government, which have been requested by Greek authorities for decades. “I’m very clear about this: I don’t think they are [les frises] Greece must return Conservative Culture Minister Michelle Donnellan made the decision on Tuesday, January 11, in an interview with the BBC. They are from England, We have been watching them for a long time. »

In his view, the sculptures were legally acquired by British Ambassador Lord Elgin in 1802 before being sold to the British Museum. “The purchase was indeed legal, but it may be objected that Greece was then under Ottoman occupation.however indicates Monde French archaeologist Jean-Paul Demol recalled this The new Acropolis Museum, opened in 2009, immediately planned the location of the Elgin marbles, an invitation to replace their abstract character with authentic pieces. »

read more: Will the British Museum return the Parthenon to Greece soon?

At the beginning of December 2022, the Greek daily New He insisted that secret negotiations on the matter had been going on between the two countries for more than a year. The head of the British Museum, George Osborne, a former chancellor in David Cameron’s government, is said to have met Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at least twice. In the same month, Pope Francis also set a precedent by announcing that three pieces of the Parthenon held by the Vatican Museums would be returned to the Orthodox Archdiocese of Athens. January 3, telegram George Osborne negotiated a deal with Athens to return these pieces to Greece within the framework of a long-term loan of one hundred years.

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No ambiguous position

“Surely that was not his intention.”Michelle Donnell refused, believing George Osborne had the condition “Misinterpretation”. According to her, this restoration would set an unfortunate precedent by opening up “Pandora’s Box”. The British Museum is already in Nigeria’s sights, demanding the return of 900 Benin City bronzes held by the London Museum. But a 1963 law severely restricted the possibility of transfer by the museum after independence in Africa, to protect against claims by newly liberated colonies.

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