NEWS

Ownership of Marbles still open, Greece says

In a new sign of how wide the gap is between Athens and London regarding the ownership of the British Museum’s Elgin Collection of sculptures from the Parthenon, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos denied yesterday that it had renounced ownership of the fifth-century BC sculptures. «As nuances are very important, I must repeat that the Greek government has never stated it recognizes the British Museum’s legal title to the Parthenon Marbles,» Venizelos said. «What we have said is that we do not raise the legal issue of ownership, as we wish to find a friendly and consensual solution that will allow a joint exhibition of the Marbles in the new Acropolis Museum.» On Sunday, British Museum director Neil MacGregor claimed Greece «no longer disputes ownership» of the works. He once again denied the existence of secret talks on a possible loan to Athens for the 2004 Olympics.