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British MP Calls For the Return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece

Parthenon_MarblesBritish MP Andrew George was to table on Monday a motion in the House of Commons for the UK to return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.

The Liberal Democrat MP is urging the British government to take action to towards “reuniting” the sculptures with those in Athens and “demonstrate that Britain is prepared to… reunite these British-held Parthenon sculptures with those now displayed in the purpose-built Acropolis Museum in the shadow of the monument to which they belong, the Parthenon in Athens”, BBC reports.

The 2,500-year-old marble sculptures that once adorned the Parthenon have been the subject of dispute since they were illegally removed and taken out of the country by the Earl of Elgin in 1803, later to be housed in the British Museum.

Mr George heads the Marbles Reunited campaign group, which has since a 2013 request by UNESCO called on the British government to negotiate with Greece for the return of the Greek sculptures to their homeland.

According to The Independent, Greece has not as yet expressed interest in taking legal action, as it is hopeful the mediation process will bear fruit.

The river-god Ilissos. Marble statue from the West pediment of the Parthenon, Athens, Greece, 438–432 BC. Photo source: British Museum

The river-god Ilissos. Marble statue from the West pediment of the Parthenon, Athens, Greece, 438–432 BC. Photo source: British Museum

In the meantime, Athens authorities were up in arms earlier this year over news that the British Museum was once again planning to loan parts of the Parthenon Marbles to museums across the globe as early as July 2015.

If approved, the loans, which would involve the overseas transfer of 20 of the total 87 Greek sculptures, would be granted to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Louvre and museums in Berlin.

The museum already released a section of the marbles — the headless statue of river god Ilissos — last year for an exhibit at Russia’s Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg for the celebration of its 250th anniversary, sparking an angry reaction in Greece.

Greece’s said such a decision defeated Britain’s main argument, namely that the Parthenon Marbles would be in danger should they be transferred.

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