Some people in the UK sure do miss the British Empire.
On those glory days, sons of Albion roved unchecked through the seven seas, raping and pillaging for Queen and Country.
Now that those days are gone, the British try to, at least, hold on to its stolen wonders of the past.
Case in point, a diplomatic row has arisen over the status of the Parthenon Sculptures.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis bitterly bemoaned his British counterpart Rishi Sunak’ insensitivity for cancelling a scheduled meeting in London Today (28).
Athens has repeatedly asked the British Museum to permanently return the 2,500-year-old sculptures, to no effect.
British diplomat Lord Elgin was the responsible for ‘removing’ the marbles from the Parthenon temple, when he was ambassador to the Ottoman Empire.
“‘I express my annoyance that the British Prime Minister cancelled our planned meeting just hours before it was due to take place’, Mitsotakis said in a statement.
‘Greece’s positions on the issue of the Parthenon Sculptures are well known. I had hoped to have the opportunity to discuss them with my British counterpart. Anyone who believes in the rightness and justice of his positions is never afraid of confronting arguments’, he said.”
The talks concerning a possible return of the Parthenon Sculptures – known in Britain as the Elgin Marbles – have not advanced to content, Mitsotakis told the BBC on Sunday.
“The British Museum has always rejected returning the parts in its collection, which include about half of the 160 metre (525 ft) frieze that adorned the Parthenon. The museum maintains they were acquired legally, citing British laws which prevent removing objects from the collection apart from in certain circumstances.
Mitsotakis said at the weekend that the continued presence of the sculptures in the British Museum was like cutting the ‘Mona Lisa in half’.”
A spokesman for PM Sunak, on Monday, said there were no plans to return them. Sunak’s office declined to comment on why the meeting was cancelled.
“The meeting had been due to happen at lunchtime on Tuesday and, the BBC understands, was due to last 45 minutes. But Mr. Mitsotakis’s appearance on the the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg program had irritated Mr. Sunak.
The British government confirmed the cancellation and offered the Greek PM a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden instead.
A senior Conservative source said: ‘It became impossible for this meeting to go ahead following commentary regarding the Elgin Marbles prior to it’.
‘Our position is clear – the Elgin Marbles are part of the permanent collection of the British Museum and belong here. It is reckless for any British politician to suggest that this is subject to negotiation.”
The Greek PM will now return to Greece, after his scheduled meetings in the morning – declining the meeting with Mr. Dowden.