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Greek & British governments discuss the Elgin Marbles

Following on from meeting between the British Museum & Greek Government to discuss the Parthenon Marbles issue (amongst other things), the British Museum has issued a press release providing some details of the meeting. Despite how negative the press release may seem & the fact that the Museum reiterates its previous stance once again, this is a momentous point, as it is the first time I am aware of, that the British Museum has publicly admitted that it is even discussing the issue.

The British Museum press office [1]

Press release
4 May 2007

A regular meeting took place today between Greek and British government officials on the subject of the Parthenon Sculptures in the British Museum. Representatives from the British Museum and UNESCO were also present. The UK government has always made clear that this is a matter to be decided by the Museum’s Trustees.

At the meeting, the British Museum representatives restated the Trustees’ position, set out in a press release of 21st April (attached to this email). The Trustees see the sculptures as an integral part of the Museum’s collection in London, part of the unique overview of world civilizations that the British Museum exists to present. In consequence, they have always made clear that they cannot contemplate the removal of all of the Parthenon sculptures to Athens, even for a short period of time. This remains their position.

The Trustees believe that it is important that friendly discussions continue with Greek colleagues to see if there is any reasonable ground on which a way forward might be constructed.

Hannah Boulton
Communications Manager
British Museum
Great Russell St
London, WC1B 3DG