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'Mona Lisa cut in half': Sunak cancels meeting with Greek PM over his comments on disputed Parthenon sculptures |  outside

‘Mona Lisa cut in half’: Sunak cancels meeting with Greek PM over his comments on disputed Parthenon sculptures | outside

A scheduled meeting between British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his Greek counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis was canceled “at the last minute” on Monday, according to the Greek. This is due to a long-standing dispute between the two countries over the world-famous Parthenon sculptures, known as the Elgin Marbles.

England and Greece cannot agree on the 2,500-year-old sculptures, some of which are on display in the British Museum in London and some in Athens. The statues once adorned the Acropolis of the Parthenon in the Greek city, but at the beginning of the nineteenth century they were shipped to London by the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Thomas Bruce, Count of Elgin.

The statues were purchased in 1816 by the British government and displayed in the British Museum. It is considered by many to be the world’s most famous example of looted art.

“Mona Lisa is cut in half”

Mitsotakis told the BBC this weekend that the photos should be returned to Greece. He told the radio that the current situation was like “cutting the Mona Lisa in half.” This statement would have angered Sunak, who canceled the meeting scheduled for Tuesday.

The Greek Prime Minister said in his response that he was “disappointed.” He refused to meet the Deputy Prime Minister, who offered him an alternative. Sources close to Sunak told the BBC that “it has become impossible to proceed with the meeting after Mitsotakis’ statements.”

The Greek Prime Minister said in a statement that the scheduled meeting between Sunak and Mitsotakis should have addressed “the situation in the Middle East, Ukraine, climate change, migration and of course the Parthenon sculptures.”

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Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, during an interview with the BBC, described the situation surrounding the statues as “cutting the Mona Lisa in half.” © Agence France-Presse