Greek leader declines meeting with UK deputy PM after Rishi Sunak’s snub

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Greek PM cancels talks with UK Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden Rishi SunakAmid the controversy over the repatriation of the Parthenon sculptures.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis “He’s so sad.” By abruptly canceling the meeting with Sunak in London on Monday, who had planned to raise the issue of sculptures.

A cabinet minister said on Monday a meeting with Dowden had been offered to Mitsotakis but it was “unlikely” to happen.

“This is a sad matter. That offer was made.” Transport Minister Mark Harper said as the controversy covered his morning broadcast to discuss a new transatlantic flight using sustainable aviation fuel.

He added: “However, the Government has made its position on the Elgin Marbles very clear, that they should remain part of the British Museum’s permanent collection.

Downing Street is understood to have been given assurances before meeting Mitsotakis Sunak that there would be no comment on the carvings from the Greek side.

The sculptures were removed under controversial circumstances at the behest of Lord Elgin, then the UK ambassador to the Ottoman court. The artifacts were sent to London from 1801 to 1804 and sold to the British Museum in 1816.

Dowden, in line with other Conservative MPs, took a strong stance on the sculptures in last year’s debate: “It is important to protect our institutions such as the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum from the demands of return.”

Mitsotakis, who is said to have flown home instead of meeting Dowden, said: “I am angry that the meeting with the British Prime Minister was canceled just hours before it was due to take place.

“Greece and Britain are united by a strong cultural bond of friendship and the framework of our bilateral relationship is very broad. Views Greece They are well known in the sculptures of the Parthenon. I was hoping to have the opportunity to discuss other global challenges with my British counterpart: Gaza, Ukraine, the climate crisis, migration.

Conservative former culture minister Ed Vaizey, who chairs the Parthenon Project, which aims to reunite the Parthenon sculptures with those in the Acropolis Museum, said he did not know Sunac’s “strong feelings” about the issue. It was linked to the ongoing “culture wars” waged by the Tory right.

British Museum chairman George Osborne told BBC Radio 4’s Today program that Sunak had put himself “front and centre” as he sought a solution.

This was in reference to a deal being negotiated between Greek authorities and Osborne to allow the return of Greek treasure sculptures to Athens for display in London.

Vaizey said Osborne had put his cards on the table and Sunac’s position was “unusual”, adding: “This has never been a better time to make a breakthrough.” It is somewhat tied up in the traditional culture wars, where anyone who dares to say that English history is not perfect is somehow unpatriotic.

Mitsotakis had already met Labor leader Keir Starmer, who described Downing Street’s apparent villain as “disgraceful”.

It is reported that the Greek government believed Confirmed by Starmer If Labor wins next year’s election, it will not stop the plans to return the sculptures of the Parthenon to Athens.

A Greek government spokesman described Sunak’s move as “unprecedented” and senior officials said Sunak’s cancellation of the planned meeting was in line with their own goals.

Dimitri Tsiodras, who heads the Prime Minister’s Press Office, said: “We are talking about British foul play. “Greece is a proud country, a country with a long history. Mitsotakis represents this country, this people. You can’t just say ‘look’, the meeting won’t happen. Look at the Deputy Prime Minister,” he told Mega TV.

Tsiodras said there is no doubt that Mitsotakis, who has made the repatriation of the sculptures a priority by the government, will not raise the issue during his visit to London.

“At every opportunity the Prime Minister raises the issue of the return of the marbles, he has raised it in the past, and he raised it on Sunday… It is a well-known Greek position, which he expressed with great clarity… The issue of sculptures will be raised. [in talks with Sunak]He said.

Tsiodras said it was clear that the country’s renewed campaign to recover the sculptures had gained momentum and was paying off, following what Athens described as rude behavior on the part of Sunak.

“British public opinion has begun to change strongly [in favour of their return to Athens from the British Museum]. This obviously upset Sunak because having a difference of opinion doesn’t mean you don’t continue in a meeting. You have the meeting and exchange opposing views.

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