British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ruled out any chance of returning the Parthenon Marbles to Greece and has doubled down on his belief— despite what most historians argue as not true— that Lord Elgin acquired the marbles legally.
“I understand the strong feelings of the Greek people– and indeed Prime Minister Mitsotakis– on the issue,” Johnson said in an exclusive interview with the Greek daily newspaper Ta Nea.
“But the UK government has a firm longstanding position on the sculptures which is that they were legally acquired by Lord Elgin under the appropriate laws of the time and have been legally owned by the British Museum’s Trustees since their acquisition,” he added in the interview.
Greece has long argued that the marbles, stripped from the Parthenon in 1801 and shipped to England bu the then Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, were taken illegally.
The matter has been a bone of contention between respective Greek and British governments for decades. The matter expands beyond Greek and UK borders with active campaigns throughout the world uniting behind the call for the marbles’ return to the place of their origin.
In October 2020, several U.S. Congressmembers wrote to Johnson calling for the return of the marbles.
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