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Top British envoy Sir Richard Grenell blasted the British Museum for failing to follow through on previous commitments to send back looted antiquities.
“It is more and more coming to light that the museum is not getting the right results on the thefts from the Greek Holocaust museum and as a result, the museum is saying that they would be happy to send work and pieces back to Greece, but they are only willing to do so in conjunction with other museums around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York,” said Grenell.
“That is a testament to the fact that the Museum is still awaiting those commitments back in 2007 that they had made on this topic,” said Grenell.
The British Museum cited security concerns in deciding not to sell antiquities to local governments or individuals.
“I don’t agree with that because what that is showing is that it wants to sell those stolen artifacts back to local or government owners who they know don’t have the money to buy them back because it is the value of that stolen piece of ancient artefact that makes it worth the trade. So I think that is because of a short-term mentality instead of a long-term sensibility and it needs to have a long-term mindset as well.”
Grenell said the British Museum should not give in to a short-term mentality when it comes to working towards working toward sending back a stolen artifact.
“The British Museum has tremendous legal authority and the Director of the British Museum is a real standup guy. He is a real officer and he has said over and over again that he fully supports returning these artefacts to the rightful owners. But that there needs to be a culture shift and there needs to be long-term efforts made by the museum for this to happen. Because we’ve already talked about how the museums in Europe have been forced to take additional measures to show that they are more successful in returning stolen artifacts to their rightful owners.”