George Osborne, the Chair of the British Museum in the United Kingdom, said on Thursday a deal is in the works that could see the Parthenon Marbles shared with Greece.
“I think there is a way forward where these sculptures… could be seen both in London and in Athens, and that will be a win-win for Greece and for us,” he told the BBC.
When asked if that meant loans, he said: “We’re talking to the Greek government about that, about a new arrangement and what I didn’t want to do is force the Greeks to accept things that they find impossible, and equally they can’t force on us things that we would find impossible.”
So far, Osborne added, the British Museum was having “constructive talks” with the Greek government about the marbles.
The Parthenon Marbles were stolen by British diplomat Lord Elgin from the imposing Parthenon temple in Athens in the early 19th century.
The Greek government argues the sculptures were taken illegally when Greece was under Ottoman Turkish occupation and have consistently called for their return to Athens.
But Osborne ruled out a scenario where the sculptures could be handed over permanently, saying it would need a change of UK law.
“If we wanted to send all the Elgin Marbles back then that would require an act of parliament, and that would be beyond my authority,” he said. “But what the museum can do is try and form a new relationship with Greece… I’m reasonably optimistic.”
Source: AP News.