High time for Parthenon sculptures to come home
"It is high time for the sculptures to be reunited with those already on display in the Acropolis Museum, in an exemplary manner, under the Attic sky and the light of Athens," Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said on Friday, talking to TV100 about the Decision regarding the Parthenon Sculptures made at the 22nd session of 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).
She noted that the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee, which convened on September 24-29 in Paris, "made an important decision for Greece with regard to the permanent return of the Parthenon Sculptures to their country of origin." Mendoni pointed out that UNESCO "this time views the issue as intergovernmental, in other words concerning the two states, the two governments, and not an issue for the British Museum and the Acropolis Museum, which is the position that the British side had always supported."
She said that this issue has been considered by the UNESCO Committee 17 times since it was first raised by Melina Mercouri in the 1980s and that this result was brought about by "two years of systematic work". She pointed out that, beyond the Committee's usual recommendation for the sculptures return, which was this time given substance, since it also recognised the problem arising from the poor conditions in the Duveen Gallery where the sculptures in the British Museum are currently exhibited, Greece also succeeded in getting a "Decision".
"A Decision that effectively recognises, on the one hand Greece's just and legal request for a permanent return of the Parthenon Sculptures to Athens and, on the other hand, that the United Kingdom has an obligation to engage in dialogue with Greece in good faith to discuss this issue and reach a clear conclusion," Mendoni said.