NEWS

Plan B for Acropolis Museum?

As the government yesterday blamed the judiciary for delays in construction of the new Acropolis Museum, a senior project official said there are contingency plans should the building not be ready - even as a shell - in six months' time. Athens had initially planned to have the 94-million-euro museum in place for the Olympics, hoping to shame the British Museum into complying with Greece's demand for the return of the Parthenon, or Elgin, Marbles. However, some 20 months after the foundations were supposed to have been laid under the Acropolis, nothing has materialized. «I have alternative plans, but I cannot announce them,» archaeologist Dimitris Pantermalis, who leads the project, said yesterday at the opening of an exhibition on the Marbles. He added that he has been waiting «for months» for the State Audit Council to approve the building contract. Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos said responsibility «lies not only with [the government] but also, very often, with the judiciary... which we expect to handle such cases faster.»

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