The reaction of the Committees for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures was provoked by the statement of the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the answer from the Minister of Culture Lina Mendoni.
Speaking exclusively to “NEA”, Johnson stated that “I understand the strong feelings of the Greek people – and the Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis – on this issue. However, the British government has a firm and long-standing position on the Sculptures: they were legally acquired by Lord Elgin, in accordance with the laws in force at the time. Their legal owner is the commissioners of the British Museum, since (s.s .: the Sculptures) came into their possession “.
Mendoni's response to the provocative statements
The Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni responded with her statement that the British Prime Minister “has not been informed by his services, about the new historical data of the Ottoman Empire, from the which is presumed to have been not legally acquired by Lord Elgin of the Parthenon Sculptures and therefore neither by the British Museum. The Ministry of Culture and Sport can immediately provide the necessary evidence to inform the British people that the British Museum owns the Sculptures illegally. Greece does not accept legal possession, prefecture and ownership of the Sculptures in the British Museum “.
At the same time, Lina Mendoni informed in a letter the International Committees for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, both about the position of the British Prime Minister and for her proposal to bring to his attention, as well as that of the British, the evidence proving the illegal possession of the Sculptures by the British Museum.
The letter of the Minister of Culture and Sports provoked the rapid reaction of the Committees around the world, as well as the International Union of Committees for the Reunification of his Sculptures Parthenon.
The President of the Union Dr. Kris Tytgat points out: “I want to congratulate Mrs. Mendoni for her immediate response to the statement of Prime Minister Johnson. This proves, once again, that despite the fact that Prime Minister Johnson is an in-depth scholar of classical studies, we still have a long way to go in terms of information, even in Greece, as people do not know exactly what we ask back and ignore the exact looting conditions. And we will! Constant information and practice in a way of cultural diplomacy, are the only reasonable solutions at the moment. Neither Athens nor Rome were built in one day. (…) We continue and we are by your side “.
The Honorary President of the Union, Professor Louis Godart, notes:” Express my congratulations and my deep gratitude to Minister Lina Mendoni for the wonderful response to Boris Johnson. Of course, we will all continue our fight for the reunification of Pheidias's sculptures and I have no doubt that we will finally win. “
Professor Paul Cartledge, Vice-President of the British Commission, emphasized:” We are grateful to Minister of Culture for the immediate and fierce rebuttal of the latest nonsense of our Prime Minister “.