Simitis, Blair hold talks

Prime Minister Costas Simitis met with his British counterpart Tony Blair in London yesterday for talks on the EU, the Middle East, Iraq, Cyprus and the Parthenon Marbles. After a 45-minute meeting, Simitis said that Saddam Hussein’s capture was «a positive event because it creates the conditions for success in the effort to create a democratic Iraq, for regional peace and for tackling all the tensions that exist there and raise tension around the world.» He called for «decisive intervention» in the Palestinian question. Simitis said he again raised the issue of the Parthenon sculptures. The British Museum has rejected a proposal to send them to Greece on a long-term loan. The premier said Blair had agreed the two countries’ culture ministers should discuss the issue. «We believe the issue is not only one of ownership and technical adjustments but is political, and we want to deal with it politically,» he said.