“Yesterday’s statements by British Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden suggest that the quiver containing the arguments supposed to justify the stay of the Parthenon Sculptures in London has emptied”, said Culture and Sports Minister Lina Mendoni, following the statements made by Mr Dowden in an interview with the Times daily newspaper.

“Having nothing else to say, Oliver Dowden brings back the argument of the so-called phenomenon of the “mass return of antiquities” from Museums around the world to their countries of origin. There is no such argument, since at the moment only one request is pending before the Special Intergovernmental Commission of UNESCO: Greece’s request for the reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, submitted in 1984. So where are the mass requests of the member states? “asks Lina Mendoni adding that :

“The British Culture Secretary is trying to downplay the value of the unique architectural sculptures of the Parthenon by comparing the Greek request with other claims. Greece is claiming only the dismembered figures from the frieze, metopes and pediments of the emblematic monument of western civilization, which were forcibly removed from the monument and its birth place. Greece is only claiming the Sculptures of the Parthenon, in order to reunite all its sculptural decoration and restore the integrity of this prominent monument.

“As for the argument regarding the alleged rescue of the Sculptures by Elgin — since they would have been destroyed by others if they had not been stolen by the Lord – we will remind Mr. Dowden what a compatriot of his carved on the Acropolis at the time of the looting of the Parthenon marbles: “quod non fecerunt Gothi, hoc fecerunt Scotti/ what was not done by the Goths, was done by the Scots…”