05 August, 2003
Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos speaking to reporters on Monday said that the Greek position regarding the return of the Parthenon Marbles, currently housed in London's British Muse-um, to Greece was very simple and consistent.
''Within the framework of common cultural traditions and close cultural ties between the two countries, we propose the establishment of a joint exhibition of the Parthenon Marbles'', the minister said, adding ''The Marbles can in that way be in Athens for the 2004 Olympic Games through cooperation between the British Museum and the New Acropolis Museum.''
''A positive British response to the Greek proposal would be both a cultural and a political initiative of ecumenical dimensions'', the minister concluded.
The marble sculptures, originally part of a frieze that decorated the ancient temple of the Parthenon on the Athens Acropolis, were removed in the 19th century by Lord Elgin and are now on display at the British Museum in London. Greece has campaigned for their return for the last two decades but the British Museum refuses, claiming that the marbles were legally obtained and are better protected in Britain.
Source: Athens News Agency