British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has dismissed Greece’s call for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to the country, arguing that the 2,500-year-old cultural treasures are «legally owned by the British Museum».
In an exclusive interview statement to newspaper Ta Nea, Johnson said «I understand the strong feelings of the Greek people and of Prime Minister Mitsotakis on the issue. 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», Johnson underlined.
Ta Nea notes that this statement is the first time Johnson has spoken publicly on the issue since taking office. The last time was seven years ago, when, as mayor of London, he got involved in a verbal incident with George Clooney, because the American actor asked for the reunion of the Sculptures exhibited since 1817 in the British Museum.