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Greece, the Parthenon Marbles & UNESCO

There have been various articles in the Greek language press [1] in the last few days relating to UNESCO mediation & the Parthenon Marbles.

Having read through them, I still can’t see that there is any substance to them, other than re-publicising of old news. UNESCO was already accepted as the official mediator in the issue. This had to have been the case, because UNESCO was the conduit through which the mediation request [2] was conveyed to Britain.

Notwithstanding the above, surely even the most stalwart supporters of the mediation option must be starting to loose faith in its possibility as a route to a solution? It is now over a year since the action was publicly announced & still no response has been made by Britain. It seems unlikely that any response will be made, until such time as it appears like an attractive option compared to the alternatives. At present, there is no obligation to enter into mediation, so why would the British Museum from a position where they feel that they are sitting comfortably, to one in which would potentially be far less comfortable.

Parthenon Marbles in British Museum [3]

Parthenon Marbles in British Museum

Euro Weekly News [4]

Greece presses for return of Elgin Marbles
Tuesday, 07 October 2014 11:19

THE Greek delegation to UNESCO launched a new campaign last Monday October 6 for the return of the Parthenon’s famous Elgin Marbles.

Currently housed in London’s British Museum, the marble friezes, which depict fascinatingly intricate sculptures of mythological scenes, once adorned the pediment of the Parthenon, perhaps Ancient Greece’s most iconic structure.

Ioannis Maronitis, campaign organiser and President of UNESCO’s seat in Pireus, said: “Our objective is to inform the Greek public of the situation and get them behind the campaign.”

“Not just the Greeks, but all world citizens who value justice and cultural heritage must support the return of the marbles to Greece.”

In 2009, Greece opened a new museum on the Acropolis in Athens designed to house the temple’s eastern frieze.

The museum’s President, Dimitris Pantermalis, said: “The British Museum and the United Kingdom used to say that Greece was not capable of looking after the marbles correctly.

“This argument no longer holds water! We have a completely new museum with a superb view of the original archeological site.”

The Parthenon, the temple which dominates the skyline of the Greek capital, was not always so well preserved. The Ottoman Turks used the site to store gunpowder during their struggle for control of Greece, and it was badly damaged during a Venetian bombardment.

Greece has been asking for the return of the marble friezes, which stretch to 75 metres long, since 1983. Lord Elgin, the British diplomat to the Ottoman Empire, removed them from the temple on the Acropolis in 1803.