England and Greece cannot agree on the 2,500-year-old sculptures, some of which are on display in the British Museum in London and some in Athens. The statues once adorned the Acropolis of the Parthenon in the Greek city, but at the beginning of the nineteenth century they were shipped to London by the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Thomas Bruce, Count of Elgin.
The statues were purchased in 1816 by the British government and displayed in the British Museum. It is considered by many to be the world’s most famous example of looted art.
Mitsotakis told the BBC this weekend that the photos should be returned to Greece. He told the radio that the current situation was like “cutting the Mona Lisa in half.” This statement would have angered Sunak, who subsequently canceled the meeting scheduled for Tuesday in London.
The Greek Prime Minister said in his response that he was “disappointed.” According to a source in the Greek camp, Mitsotakis is “confused, surprised and very upset.” He refused to meet Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden, who was offered to him as an alternative. Sources close to Sunak told the BBC that it had become “impossible for the meeting to go ahead after Mitsotakis’ statements.”
The Greek Prime Minister said in a statement that the scheduled meeting between Sunak and Mitsotakis should have addressed “the situation in the Middle East, Ukraine, climate change, migration and of course the Parthenon sculptures.”
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