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20 February, 1998
Eight-year old Theo Bassett, of Skipton, England, is quite clear about where the Parthenon Sculptures should be. "I think we should give the Greek people their marbles back. I think that would be the right thing to do," he told British Prime Minister Tony Blair in a letter after and inspection of the Parthenon. "It is a very important building for the Greek people," who had no say when Lord Elgin "got the marbles off the Turks" in the early 19th century, he suggested. The reply was disappointing: "The Government recognises the importance of the history of Greek culture and thinking to all modern Europeans. However ... the Sculptures were legally acquired and are vested in the Trustees of the British Museum. Under the Museum's governing statute (British Museum Act 1963) the trustees are prevented from disposing of objects in the Museum's collections unless they are duplicates or worthless... "The Sculptures form an integral part of the museum's whole collection.
The Government believes that any general attempt to return legally acquired objects to their countries of origin could result in dispesing some of the world's great collections," said the reply.
Source: Athens News Agency