No official or unofficial proposal has been made to the British Museum by the current leadership of the Culture ministry on the return of the Parthenon Marbles, the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday, responding to an article by “The Independent.”
“The Greek side is examining the possibility of cooperation with the British Museum which is not taking place today. Until now, no relevant official or unofficial proposal has been made by the current leadership of the ministry for the specific procedure,” it said. The ministry acknowledged that it is making a systematic effort to restart dialog for the reunification of the sculptures with a new strategy which “is not based on legal action.”
“The Independent” published an article earlier in the day titled “Greece offers ancient archaeological wonders in exchange for Elgin Marbles,” which claimed the Greek ministry agreed to loan significant ancient artifacts to British museums on a regular basis in exchange for the return of the Marbles.
In the same statement, Professor Louis Godart, the chairman of the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures (IARPS), said he never spoke with any journalist from the “Independent,” adding he will send a letter to the paper. “As president of IARPS, I never spoke to any journalist and wasn’t aware of the relevant article. Additionally, the mentioning of specific artifacts is a product of pure fiction on the side of the journalist who is signing the article or someone else’s who spoke in my name without having the relevant permission,” he said.
Godart added that these type of articles may seriously undermine” the issue on which the ministry is working on and noted that a serious conversation between the British Museum and the Greek State could have “significant results” towards the return of the Parthenon Marbles.