NEWS

Venizelos upbeat on modern art museum

Brushing aside this week’s high court decision that the government illegally granted state land for a new central Athens museum to display an important modern art collection, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos said yesterday the deal still stood. Venizelos told journalists that Tuesday’s Council of State decision would probably simply result in the act ceding the 1.2-hectare plot in the Rizareio park to the Basil and Elisa Goulandris Foundation being reissued. «Consequently, nothing has effectively changed, and the agreement with the foundation still stands.» Venizelos had initially described the grant as «legally safe.» The foundation wants to build a modern art museum, designed by I.M. Pei, on the plot in order to host its 158 works by masters such as Van Gogh, Cezanne, Picasso, Kandinsky, de Chirico, Braque and Nicholson. The museum would be state-controlled.If the Rizareio deal falls through, the foundation is expected to give up on the project. The September 11 attacks showed clearly that a few fanatical individuals have the ability to kill thousands of people at a time and will not shrink from doing so. The military response by the United States has raised questions regarding national sovereignty and international law that will have to be solved. The old model of sovereign states being inviolable and allowed to do whatever they like inside their borders has been eradicated in practice with the US-led NATO campaign against