posted at 02:51
Author: Blathnaid Healy
Elgin statue leaves Britain for first time ... but it hasnt gone to Greece
LONDON - Britain is trying out a new approach with Russia - marble diplomacy. The Elgin Marbles, displayed in the British Museum in London, are the subject of a long-running ownership dispute with Greece, which has repeatedly sought the return of the 2,500 year-old sculptures removed by Britain's Lord Elgin in the 19th century. Greece says Lord Elgin illegally removed the statues, which were part of the Parthenon while the country was under Turkish occupation as part of the Ottoman Empire. The 156cm-long marble figure depicts a young, athletic man with a piece of drapery over his left arm, which turns into water. McGregor told BBC Radio 4's Today programme, the decision to send the marble came after the director of the State Hermitage Museum asked to borrow a symbol of the shared European heritage. The gesture has been called "Provocative," "Unfortunate" and "Rude" by campaigners for the reunification of the Parthenon sculptures in Greece. "The overwhelming majority of public and professional opinion, even in the UK, is that the British should return the collection to be reunited in Greece ... you've got the fracturing of sculptures, half in London, half in Athens," President of the international Association of the Parthenon Sculptures David Hill told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. In a news conference she described the Greek claim to the marbles as a "Just cause".

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