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The British Museum is on the verge of concluding a “major agreement” on the return of the Parthenon friezes


According to the English press, the British institution could “soon” announce the “long-term” loan of the works claimed by Athens.

Is the diplomatic and heritage marathon coming to an end?

The British newspaper

The Telegraph

reports that the Parthenon Marbles could


be handed over to Greece as part of a long-term loan being finalized between the British Museum and Athens.

The president of the museum and former British finance minister George Osborne is said to be in the process of concluding an agreement with Athens for the return to Greece of these treasures, within the framework of a

“cultural exchange”.

This agreement, described as “major” by the daily, would make it possible to circumvent a British law preventing the London museum from dismantling its collection.

"We are actively seeking a new partnership regarding the Parthenon with our friends in Greece and as we enter a new year, discussions are ongoing

," the British Museum responded to AFP on Wednesday.

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secret negotiations

The agreement negotiated between the museum and Greece would, according to the sources quoted by the


, be a loan agreement for the frieze to return to Greece quickly.

But this


would not end the quarrel, Athens intending to continue to demand full restitution.

Greece has been demanding since the beginning of the 20th century the unsuccessful return of a 75-meter frieze detached from the Parthenon and one of the caryatids of the Erechtheion, a small ancient temple also on the rock of the Acropolis, both masterpieces of the British Museum.

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London's historic position was limited to pointing out that these sculptures were

"legally acquired"

in 1802 by the British diplomat Lord Elgin who sold them to the British Museum.

Greece, on the other hand, argues that they were


while the country was under Ottoman occupation.

Greek media had already reported in December that secret negotiations had been going on for a year between George Osborne and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

The British government then recalled that the British Museum was subject to a 1963 law which prevents it from transferring or selling objects from its collection, except under very limited conditions.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-01-04

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