In the media furor surrounding this week’s visit to Athens of the London legal team advising the Greek State on the Parthenon Marbles, much has been made of a certain member of the delegation. Amal Clooney (or depending on your preference, Amal Alamuddin) has stated: “Everybody hopes there will be a friendly and amicable solution, but I think it’s prudent for the government to consider all its legal options.”
Head of the legal team, London-based Australian barrister Geoffrey Robertson tried to allay fears of the possible wide-reaching effects of returning the Marbles: “The object of the exercise is not to create a precedent for the denuding of museums… The British Museum will get to keep its mummies and its Rosetta Stone. Returning the marbles to Greece would have no knock-on effect.”
The other senior barrister on the team, Norman Palmer, spoke to a journalist in hopeful terms. “I am extremely optimistic that a conciliatory and amicable resolution can be reached.” Adding, “If it cannot then other considerations will have to be examined.”
As the visit wraps up, many questions remain. What will be Greece’s next move in this matter? Will it continue to attempt proceedings before UNESCO? And, more importantly, what will be the response of the UK government and the British Museum?