OSCAR (tm) nominated Malakas of the month: May 2001
Blair Won't Return Parthenon MarblesATHENS, Greece (AP) - British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Saturday rejected long-standing demands by Greece for the return of ancient sculptures removed from the Parthenon 200 years ago.
Commonly known as the Elgin Marbles, the sculptures that
decorated the Parthenon were taken by Lord Elgin, Britain's
ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, and are now housed in
the British Museum.
``The marbles belong to the British Museum ... which does not
intend to return any part of the collection to its country of origin,''
Blair said in an interview published Sunday in the Athens daily
The collection has been the subject of a decades-long
diplomatic dispute between Britain and Greece. Athens is
pressing for their return by 2004, when the city will host the
Olympic Games, and is planning to build a
museum in the center of the capital to house them.
Blair held talks in London with Greek Premier Costas Simitis
``I know my reply will disappoint many of your readers,'' Blair
told To Vima. ``But one should consider the fact that six million
people visit the British Museum every year and they can
appreciate the beauty of the Parthenon Sculptures and
Greece's special contribution to world civilization.''