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Sunak cancels meeting with Greek PM over dispute: BBC shares details

Sunak cancels meeting with Greek PM over dispute: BBC shares details Rishi Sunak (Photo: Getty Images)
Author: Daria Shekina

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak canceled his meeting with his Greek counterpart. The reason behind this decision was a diplomatic spat over the Parthenon sculptures, according to BBC.

Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, was supposed to meet Rishi Sunak in London, but the latter canceled the meeting at the last minute.

Mitsotakis told journalists that he was 'deeply disappointed by the abrupt cancellation" of the meeting. The Greek Prime Minister declined an alternative meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister.

Possible reason behind the cancellation

Earlier, Mitsotakis told journalist Laura Kuenssberg that the ancient Greek sculptures (known as the Elgin Marbles) should be returned, as leaving part of the artifacts in London and the rest in Athens was akin to cutting the Mona Lisa in half.

The Prime Minister of Greece told journalists that he was disappointed that the meeting was canceled "mere hours before its slated time."

"Those who firmly believe in the correctness and justice of their positions are never hesitant to engage in constructive argumentation and debate," he added.

Reaction from the UK government

The British government confirmed the cancellation and instead offered the Prime Minister of Greece a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden.

A senior source within the Conservative Party stated that continuing this meeting became impossible after the comments regarding the Elgin Marbles.

"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," added the Conservative Party source.

Elgin Marbles

An unparalleled collection of ancient Greek art, primarily sculptures and reliefs from the Parthenon of the Athenian Acropolis, the work of the sculptor Phidias and his students (438-431 BC), which was brought to England in the early 19th century by Lord Elgin. Currently housed in the British Museum in London.