The crisis that started between British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis continues. Sunak accused his Greek counterpart of ‘playing to the crowd’.
Release: 23:00 – 29 November 2023 Updated:
British Prime Minister Sunak defended his cancellation at the last minute of his meeting with his Greek counterpart Mitsotakis, who brought up the issue of the return of the Elgin Marbles, during the weekly ‘Questions to the Prime Minister’ session in the parliament.
Sunak said that he is always pleased to discuss important issues such as combating illegal immigration or strengthening security with Britain’s allies, but stated that the canceled meeting was not within this scope.
“IT WAS AN INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR”
Sunak said the following about canceling his meeting with his Greek counterpart:
“However, this was inappropriate behavior when it was clear that the purpose of a meeting was not to discuss important issues for the future but to play to the grandstands and re-discuss past issues. Moreover… When certain commitments and certain urances are made to this country on this issue and then they are not fulfilled, it may seem foreign to it, but in my view when people make commitments they should keep them.”
ELGİN MARBLES CANCELED THE TENSION MEETING
In the statement made by the Greek Prime Minister’s Office on November 25, it was announced that Mitsotakis, who will pay a 3-day visit to England, will meet with Sunak on November 28 at 12.45 local time.
In his interview with the British broadcaster BBC on November 26, before the meeting, Mitsotakis brought up the need for the marbles to be returned.
After the interview in question, the British press claimed that Mitsotakis’s bringing up the Elgin Marbles issue in the interview disturbed Sunak.
Mitsotakis made a written statement in the evening, one day before the planned meeting, and said, “I express my discomfort with the British Prime Minister canceling our scheduled meeting hours before.”
Stating that Greece and England have historical bonds of friendship, Mitsotakis also stated that the framework of the relations between the two countries is extremely broad.
Mitsotakis said, “Greece’s views on the Elgin Marbles are clear. I would hope to have the opportunity to talk about these and the big issues on the international agenda such as Gaza, Ukraine, climate crisis and migration with my British counterpart. “A person who believes that his views are correct and fair will never be afraid of conflict of views,” he said.
The Elgin Marbles, part of the Athenian Acropolis, are located in the British Museum in London. Lord Elgin, who was the ambador in Istanbul in the early 1800s, took the marbles to England with permission to examine the statues and reliefs and to take surveys. Athens has been asking for the return of the marbles for many years. (AA)
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