Greece has repeatedly called for the permanent return of the sculptures that British diplomat Lord Elgin removed from the imposing Parthenon temple in Athens in the early 19th century, when he was ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, which then ruled Greece.
Five girls walk in a single file, part of a collection of stone objects, inscriptions and sculptures, known as the Elgin Marbles displayed at the Parthenon Marbles’ hall at the British Museum in October 2014. Credit: Dylan Martinez/Reuters/File
The paper reported such an arrangement, which would in effect be a loan arrangement, could be concluded soon. However, Greek officials have said discussions were at a preliminary stage.
“We’ve said publicly, we’re actively seeking a new Parthenon partnership with our friends in Greece and as we enter a new year constructive discussions are ongoing,” the British Museum said in a statement.
The museum, custodian of the “Elgin Marbles” which include about half of the 160-meter (525-foot) frieze that adorned the Parthenon, has always ruled out a permanent return for the sculptures, saying they were legally acquired and UK law prevented it from breaking up its collection.
The Head of a horse of Selene, part of a collection of stone objects, inscriptions and sculptures, known as the Elgin Marbles, is displayed at the Parthenon Marbles’ hall at the British Museum in October 2014. Credit: Dylan Martinez/Reuters/File
A spokesperson for the Greek government said there had not been any further discussions with British government officials recently, but its request for the return of the sculptures was ongoing.
“There hasn’t been a new development on this front,” the spokesperson said. “The government with professionalism and full respect for all the parameters of this issue will continue to pursue the best possible result, aiming at the reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures.”