A UNESCO committee for the return of cultural property “recognised for the first time the historical, cultural, legal and ethical aspects of the return by Britain of the Parthenon Sculptures to Greece,” the Ministry of Culture said on Thursday.
The Intergovenmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Resitution in Case of Illicit Appropriation, as its full name is, met at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris on May 30 and 31.
In another important decision, the Ministry of Culture said, “the committee expresses its continuing concern and scepticism over the sculptures issues, and calls on both sides to find a mutually acceptable solution to this long-standing issue.”
According to the ministry, Greece’s position was supported by Argentina, Armenia, China, Cyprus, Egypt, Iraq, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Turkey, and Zambia among others. It was also the first time, it noted, that France expressed support for a solution through collaboration of both sides.
At the meeting Greece was represented by Culture Secretary General Maria Andreadaki-Vlazaki, Acropolis Museum president Professor Dimitris Pantermalis, and legal counsellor for the Foreign Ministry Artemis Papathanassiou.
The representatives of Greece noted that “Greece will continue its effort towards the return to Greece and reunification of the sculptures, expressing the confident that this day is not far into the future, as shown by the strong support of public opinion globally, including the British one,” the ministry announcement said.