Rishi Sunak cancels meeting with Greek PM over Elgin Marbles — triggering a row

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PM cancels meeting over controversial Elgin Marbles

The British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, cancelled a scheduled meeting with the Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, sparking a heated dispute over the Elgin Marbles.

Greek PM left 'baffled' and 'annoyed'

Kyriakos Mitsotakis had planned to discuss the return of the Elgin Marbles with Rishi Sunak, but the British PM failed to attend the meeting. Sources say Mitsotakis was left "baffled" and "annoyed" by the last-minute cancellation.

British Museum defended as the 'right place' for the treasures

Rishi Sunak has maintained that the British Museum is the appropriate home for the Elgin Marbles, which were removed from Greece by Lord Elgin in the 19th century. The Greek Prime Minister has compared their loss to cutting the Mona Lisa in half.

Greece demands return clause in agreements

Greece has long demanded that Britain return the 2,500-year-old sculptures and insists that any agreements include a clause about their repatriation. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has expressed his support for a loan deal.

Elgin Marbles not up for discussion in trade negotiations

The UK Government has made it clear that the return of the Elgin Marbles is not a topic for discussion in trade negotiations. A senior Downing Street source stated, "The Elgin Marbles are going nowhere."

Row threatens to sour relations ahead of talks

The dispute over the Elgin Marbles risks damaging the relationship between Greece and the UK, just two weeks before talks are set to begin. Greece has persistently lobbied for the repatriation of the ancient sculptures.