The chairman of the British Museum in London has stated he is open to a deal with Athens so as to allow both sides to share the Parthenon Sculptures, which are at the center of a long-running dispute between the United Kingdom and Greece.
“I think there’s a deal to be done where we can tell both stories in Athens and Londont if we approach this without a load of preconditions or too many red lines,” the chairman of the British Museum George Osborne recently told LBC radio.station.
Asked if an agreement could be reached for the Sculptures to be exhibited in Greece for a while and then returned to London, the British Museum President said that “this type of arrangement” would be possible, “something that allows us to see them in all their splendour in Athens and to see them among the splendours of other civilizations in London.”
The French News Agency notes that British public opinion is increasingly in favour of the repatriation of the Sculptures: 59% of those questioned believe that the Sculptures, extracted in 1802 from the Parthenon by the British diplomat Lord Elgin, belong to Greece, according to the latest survey by the English institute Yougov, compared to 37% in 2014.
The prestigious British newspaper The Times, which has always been a staunch supporter of the British Museum, advocated the return of the Sculptures in January.
According to Agence France-Presse, pressure is being generally increased on European cultural institutions to return items that were looted during the colonial era. Last year, for the first time in the United Kingdom, the University of Cambridge officially returned to Nigeria the bronze statuette of a cockerel that had been looted a century ago.
The British Museum is currently refusing to follow this path.