BORIS Johnson is braced for an awkward confrontation with the new Greek PM over the Elgin Marbles after he vowed to return them to Athens.
New Greek leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis revealed he would make the demand when he meets Mr Johnson at the Nato summit today because he wants the marbles back in time to mark Greeces 200th anniversary in 2021.
EL TO PAY
But last night No.10 said there was no way the sculptures were up for discussion as they belong to the British Museum.
A Greek government official said: We will of course be raising the issue of the marbles with Boris. The Greek media will be there and they will be watching closely.
The 2,500 year old Marbles also known as the Parthenon Sculptures were taken by Lord Elgin were taken with permission of the Turkish rulers of Greece in 1801 to protect them.
Greece has been arguing since 1925 that they should be returned and doesnt recognise the museums ownership.
LOST THEIR MARBLES
But new Prime Minister Mitsotakis has set the goal of the marbles repatriation from the British Museum as a national priority, and will bring them up at a lunch at the swanky Grove Hotel in Watford, Herts, where the summit is being held.
Last summer the Greek PM said he would offer to loan other Greek relics to the British Museum in order to get their hands on the long disputed artifacts.
He said: I will propose to Boris: As a first move, loan me the sculptures for a certain period of time and I will send you very important artefacts that have never left Greece to be exhibited in the British Museum.
But any talk with Boris will be quickly rebuffed as No.10 say it is not a political issue.
A Downing Street spokesperson said: The Parthenon Sculptures are legal property of the British Museum.
Any decisions relating to their care are taken by the Trustees of the British Museum – free from political interference.