15 January, 2004
London 15/01/2004 (ANA/L.Tsirigotakis)
The new movement created in Britain on the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece, named ''Reuniting the Marbles'', gave its first press conference on Wednesday in the presence of British former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook.
The head of the new movement, Peter Chequin, presented the results of an opinion poll held on a nationwide scale in Britain in December on the question of whether or not people agree with the return of the Parthenon Marbles.
Percentages ranging between 71 and 81 percent agree with the return of the Marbles and on the question of whether the British government should commit itself now, that it is Olympic Games year, on their return, 73 percent replied yes.
Moreover, an exit poll carried out among visitors to the British Museum, where the Marbles are being displayed, on the question of the Marbles' return produced a 67 percent yes response.
''These majorities are so big that they leave no margin for politicians to take different decisions. The solution of the return of the Marbles will make all, both politicians and public opinion, to feel winners,'' Cook said.
Cook reiterated what he had said in an article in the newspaper Evening Standard on Tuesday that a decision to return the Marbles to Greece would be a very positive beginning for London's candidacy to host the Olympic Games in 2012.
Professor Pantermalis also participated in the press conference, presenting the specifications of the new Acropolis Museum and making special reference to the hall destined to house the Parthenon Marbles in the event they are returned to Greece.
Also present at the press conference were Greece's new Ambassador to London Anastasios Skopelitis and Cultural Olympiad President Evgenios Yiannakopoulos.
At the end of the press conference, representatives of the ''Reuniting the Marbles'' movement went to the British House of Parliament, together with Cook, where they met with 60 Parliamentarians from all parties to whom they explained the aims of their campaign to have the Parthenon Marbles returned to Greece.
Greek Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos departs for London in the next few days for talks with his British counterpart, a meeting expected to touch on the sensitive issue of returning the Parthenon Marbles to Athens in time for the 2004 Summer Olympic Games.
Venizelos spoke at a press conference on Wednesday, where he referred to the widespread support amongst the British citizenry for a return of the Classical Era friezes and sculptures – a standing demand by the Greek government and classicists the world over in recent decades.
Venizelos’ initiative follows former British foreign secretary Robin Cook’s recent full-page article in “London's Evening Standard” on Tuesday, where he calls on the British government to return the Marbles to Greece in light of an opinion poll according to which 80 percent of Britons agree with their repatriation.
Athens has reportedly tabled an array of schemes and compromises to reunite the Marbles with the structure from which they were blatantly sliced off, the Parthenon on the Acropolis.
Source: Athens News Agency