December 17, 2003

Simitis to talk to Blair about the marbles

Posted at 12:52 pm in Elgin Marbles

Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis has discussed the issue of the Elgin Marbles during a meeting with Tony Blair in London.

Macedonian Press Agency

London, 16 December 2003 (10:30 UTC+2)

The issue of the Parthenon Marbles is not just an issue of property and technical adjustments, it is also a political issue, and that is why we would like to approach it politically, stated Prime Minister Costas Simitis, following his meeting with his British counterpart, Tony Blair, in London. Mr. Simitis said that he will send Minister of Culture Evaggelos Venizelos to London, to further discuss the issue.

Macedonian Press Agency

London, 15 December 2003 (19:28 UTC+2)

Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis and British Prime Minister Tony Blair discussed in their meeting in London the developments in the Middle East after the arrest of Saddam Hussein, the European developments after the EU Summit in Brussels, the “elections” in the Turkish occupied northern Cyprus and the issue of the return to Greece of the Parthenon Marbles.

On the arrest of Saddam Hussein, the Greek Prime Minister stated that it is a positive development that creates the preconditions for the democratic reorganization of Iraq.

On the EU Summit meeting in Brussels, he stressed that the disagreement on the European Constitution is indicative of the different views in the European countries. However, he underlined the need for Europe to take very specific decisions on the course of the economy, the defense and foreign policy and on the effort to limit inequalities.

On the developments in Cyprus, the Greek Prime Minister commented that the people living in the Turkish occupied territories want the solution of the Cyprus issue and called on Turkey to act toward this direction facilitating, this way, its European course. On his part, the British Prime Minister stated that he is willing to exert pressures for the solution of the problem.

Also, Mr. Simitis proposed to Mr. Blair that Greece and Britain could hold the exhibition of the Parthenon Marbles together and pointed out that Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos will visit London for talks on the issue with his British counterpart.

Kathimerini (English Edition)

Tuesday December 16, 2003
Simitis, Blair hold talks

Prime Minister Costas Simitis met with his British counterpart Tony Blair in London yesterday for talks on the EU, the Middle East, Iraq, Cyprus and the Parthenon Marbles. After a 45-minute meeting, Simitis said that Saddam Hussein’s capture was “a positive event because it creates the conditions for success in the effort to create a democratic Iraq, for regional peace and for tackling all the tensions that exist there and raise tension around the world.” He called for “decisive intervention” in the Palestinian question.

Simitis said he again raised the issue of the Parthenon sculptures. The British Museum has rejected a proposal to send them to Greece on a long-term loan. The premier said Blair had agreed the two countries’ culture ministers should discuss the issue. “We believe the issue is not only one of ownership and technical adjustments but is political, and we want to deal with it politically,” he said.

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