Sunak rekindled the controversy over the Parthenon marbles and accused his Greek counterpart of “arrogance”.

Athens has repeatedly asked the British Museum to return the 2,500-year-old sculptures permanently (Europe Press/Communications/Li Ying)

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak sparked a diplomatic spat with Athens on Wednesday by accusing his Greek counterpart, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, of being a “bigot”. When referring to the ownership of the Parthenon sculptures during his recent visit to London.

Tsunak told parliament he canceled a meeting with Mitsotakis in London on Tuesday, saying the Greek prime minister would not use his trip to advocate for the return of the sculptures to the British Museum. Elgin Marbles.

In his first public comments, Sunak said: “It is clear that the purpose of the meeting is not to discuss substantive issues for the future, but to discuss and revisit issues of the past.”

Responding to Sunak’s comments, a senior Greek government official said: “In the spirit of the longstanding good relationship between the two countries, which we seek to preserve, we have nothing more to add to the matter.”

Sunak canceled the meeting after Mitsotakis raised the issue during an interview BBC Weekend. The cancellation prompted an angry response from MitsotakisAnd Greek government officials said it was disrespectful.

Sunak told parliament he had canceled a meeting with Mitsotakis in London (UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Handout via REUTERS)

On Wednesday, Mitsotakis appeared ready to tone down the rhetoric and called for the meeting to be cancelled. “Unfortunate incident.”

“I hope this move will not affect long-term relations between Greece and the United Kingdom,” he told Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou, adding that Athens’ demand to reintegrate the Parthenon sculptures has received more publicity than expected due to the uproar.

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Athens has repeatedly asked the British Museum to permanently return the 2,500-year-old sculptures taken from the Parthenon in 1806 by British ambassador Lord Elgin during Greece’s rule under Ottoman Turkish rule.

Half of the 160-meter frieze that decorated the Parthenon in Athens is in the British Museum, while the 50-meter carvings are in the Acropolis Museum in Greece.

During an interview on Sunday at BBC, Mitsotakis He compared taking apart the sculptures to cutting the Mona Lisa in half, a characterization rejected by the British government. Greek officials said Mitsotakis reiterated his country’s long-standing position.

The British Museum has said it would only consider lending the sculptures to Greece if they recognized ownership of the sculptures, which Greek governments have refused to do.

Greece condemns “Disrespect” from the United Kingdom By the sculptures of the Parthenon.

(With information from Reuters)

Eden Hayes

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