In his first interview with British media since being elected in July, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has petitioned for the Parthenon sculptures (often referred to as the Elgin marbles) to be returned to Greece for its bicentennial independence celebrations, in exchange for a loan of ancient artifacts that have never been shown in the UK before.
“Given the significance of 2021, I will propose to Boris: ‘As a first move, loan me the sculptures for a certain period of time and I will send you very important artifacts that have never left Greece to be exhibited in the British Museum’,” Mitsotakis told The Observer, referring to British counterpart Boris Johnson, a classics graduate from the University of Oxford.
“The Acropolis doesn’t necessarily solely belong to Greece. It’s a monument of global cultural heritage. But if you really want to see the monument in its unity you have to see what we call the Parthenon sculptures in situ … it’s a question of uniting the monument,” Mitsotakis said, reiterating a long-standing demand by Greece for the sculptures’ return from the British Museum, which holds the majority of the 160-meter frieze that once graced the ancient Athenian temple.
According to the report, Johnson is likely to feel compelled to accept the deal after Paris agreed to consider a similar request made by Mitsotakis to French President Emmanuel Macron for the return of a part of the Parthenon frieze that is on display at the Louvre.
This article was originally published at ekathimerini.com.