A UNESCO committee has called for talks between Britain and Greece over the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Athens, with no less than 12 nations throwing their weight behind the demand.
The Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property (ICPRCP) earlier this week recognized the importance of a solution to the issue as Greece’s culture ministry described the marbles as “an emblematic monument of world heritage”.
UNESCO’s intergovernmental committee meeting took place in Paris on Wednesday and Thursday and called for “both sides to find a mutually acceptable solution to this long-term issue”.
China, Turkey, Japan, Armenia, Mexico, Iraq, South Korea, Egypt, Argentina, Cyprus, Zambia, and France support Greece in its call to reunify of the precious sculptures missing from their original place.
Greece was represented at the meeting by Secretary General of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, Maria Andreadakis-Vlazakis; the president of the Acropolis Museum, Professor Dimitris Pantermalis; and the Legal Advisor of the Ministry’s Special Legal Service, Artemis Papathanasiou.
The ICPRCP recognized the historical, cultural, legal and ethical dimensions of the issue of the return of the Sculptures. With Recommendation 19. COM 8, UNESCO calls on Britain and Greece to start discussions on the reunification of the sculptures with the mediation of UNESCO.
Below is the full text of Recommendation 19. COM 8:
Acknowledging relevant UNESCO recommendations expressing its continuing concern for a solution to the issue of the Parthenon Sculptures;
• Acknowledges the fruitful cooperation between Greece and United Kingdom on cultural matters and expresses the wish that it should continue
with a view to assist with the ongoing discussions in respect of the physical reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures;
• Acknowledges that an official letter has been sent in August last year by UNESCO to the United Kingdom government and the British Museum saying:
• Earlier this year, the Greek authorities approached UNESCO with a request that the Organization deploy its good offices to explore the possibility of the United Kingdom agreeing to the procedure foreseen in the Mediation and Conciliation Rules of Procedure (adopted in 2010) within the framework of the ICPRCP’ and takes note that the United Kingdom has not yet written back to UNESCO although has in the Nineteenth Session acknowledged that UNESCO stands ready to facilitate mediation discussions.
• Invites the Director-General to assist in convening the necessary meetings between Greece and the United Kingdom with the aim of reaching a mutually acceptable solution to the issue of the Parthenon Sculptures; and invites both parties to consider making use of the mediation process, noting that Greece has already asked for mediation.