Museum to help return of Marbles

The completion of the new Acropolis Museum next year will help boost Greece’s chances of reclaiming the 2,500-year-old Parthenon Marbles from Britain, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said yesterday. On a visit to the building site at the foot of the Acropolis, Karamanlis said the construction of the 129-million-euro project is moving ahead and will be completed by the middle of 2007. «Once the museum is completed, Greece will have a very strong argument for the return of the Parthenon sculptures,» he said. «We are taking a very important step to finally realize the dream that unites all Greeks,» he added. Depicting gods, men and monsters, the marble sculptures were removed from the Parthenon by agents of British Ambassador Lord Elgin in 1806-11, at a time when Greece was part of the Ottoman Empire. Greece has officially demanded their return for some 20 years, complaining that the works were illegally removed and are part of its national heritage.

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