The mayor of London called on the British Museum, UK government, and Greek government to “make progress” on a deal for the sharing of the Parthenon Marbles.
“I’d really encourage the British Museum, the British government and the government of Greece and the relevant appropriate place—the museum in Athens—to talk about how we can make progress on this issue,” Mayor Sadiq Khan told the Huffington Post.
“There’s a discussion, not just in terms of the Elgin Marbles, but across the globe in relation to some of the wonderful things we have on exhibition in our city,” he added.
“I want them to stay in our city, but why can’t we share them?” the Mayor questioned. “Why can’t we work with other cities across the globe to have a situation where people, who can’t come to London, can’t enjoy the wonderful British Museum, can enjoy seeing some of this stuff in other places as well?”
Khan echoed the views of the Chair of the British Museum George Osborne who recently said that Greece and the UK could agree on an arrangement where they both share the Parthenon Marbles.
Speaking to LBC Radio in June, the former UK Chancellor was asked whether an arrangement would be made that would see the Parthenon Marbles displayed in both Athens and London: “I cannot speak for all the trustees [of the British Museum], but I think such an arrangement would work,” he said.
Osbourne told LBC: “The Elgin Marbles, the Parthenon sculptures, they’re an amazing testament to human civilization.”
He added: “If we both approach this without a load of preconditions, without a load of red lines, and we sit down as sensible people because I think sensible people can arrange something that makes the most of the Parthenon Marbles, but if either side says there’s no give at all, then there won’t be a deal.”
Greece intensifies campaign for Parthenon Marbles return
Greece has intensified its campaign for the return of the Parthenon Marbles, a struggle that started in the 1980s by then Minister of Culture Melina Mercouri. A recent poll in Britain shows that the majority of Britons is in favor of their repatriation to their home.
In May, UNESCO announced that Greece and the UK have agreed to hold talks on the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.
A report from the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in case of Illicit Appropriation (ICPRCP) says that Greek Minister of Culture, Lina Mendoni and the Minister of the United Kingdom Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Lord Parkinson have agreed to meet “in due course.”