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Prime Minister Sunak criticized in Parthenon dispute

Prime Minister Sunak criticized in Parthenon dispute

The scandal over the return of art treasures from the British Museum to Greece could, according to commentators, harm British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Today, media in both countries described Sunak’s cancellation of a meeting with his Greek counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis at the last minute as “embarrassing”, “childish” and “unprofessional”.

“It was an unfortunate event,” Mitsotakis said today. But: “This made Greece’s just demand for the reunification of the Parthenon sculptures better known not only in the UK, but also in world public opinion.”

APA/AFP/Daniel Leal

“A massive lack of diplomatic tact”

Other Greek politicians were much angrier. The British newspaper The Times quoted Foreign Minister Giorgos Gerapetritis as saying that canceling the invitation was outrageous. “It’s a massive diplomatic lack of tact. Even Israel and Hamas communicate.”

Economy Minister Adonis Georgiadis commented that the demand to return the art treasures was “the opinion of eleven million Greeks and many millions of people around the world.”

Sunak canceled a meeting scheduled to be held with Mitsotakis yesterday at short notice. The Prime Minister was apparently upset by a BBC interview in which the Greek once again called on London to return the friezes of the Parthenon to the Acropolis.

Downing Street defended the cancellation by saying that during the interview, Mitsotakis violated an agreement not to address the issue publicly. But Sunak has also been criticized within his Conservative Party. Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Alicia Cairns said this approach was difficult to understand.

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