The museum might yet arrange for the sculptures to be loaned. But Sunak stated that there are no plans to change the statute, which specifies that the museum can only dispose of pieces in its collection under certain circumstances.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has ruled out amending a regulation that prevents the British Museum from permanently returning the Parthenon marbles to Greece.
Sunak confirmed that they have no intention of altering the existing regulations, which limit the museum’s ability to sell or dispose of pieces in its collection except under specific circumstances.
Sunak is unlikely to break with the stances of his two predecessors, who were both against any kind of loan of the marbles to Greece.
“The UK has cared for the Elgin Marbles for generations. Our galleries and museums are funded by taxpayers because they are a huge asset to this country,” Sunak told reporters on his plane as he flew to the United States on monday
“We share their treasures with the world, and the world comes to the UK to see them. The collection of the British Museum is protected by law, and we have no plans to change it.”
Since its independence in 1832, Greece has repeatedly demanded the return of the statues known as the Elgin Marbles, which were stolen from the Parthenon temple in Athens by British ambassador Lord Elgin in the early nineteenth century, while Greece was under Ottoman domination.
George Osborne, a former finance minister and the chair of the British Museum, has been collaborating with Greece to develop a new agreement that would enable the Parthenon sculptures to be displayed in both Athens and London. The Parthenon Project, which has received support from politicians across various parties in the UK, announced on Sunday that a long-term cultural partnership agreement could potentially facilitate the return of the British Museum’s Parthenon collection to Greece.