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Culture minister to visit Paris for talks with French minister, UNESCO Sec-Gen

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The return of the Parthenon Sculptures will be at the top of the agenda of his trip to France next Monday, Culture and Sports Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos said at a press conference on Thursday.

The visit will be his first trip abroad as culture minister and includes meetings with his French counterpart Aurelie Filippetti on Monday and with UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova on Tuesday to discuss the Parthenon sculptures. The minister said the purpose of the meeting with Bokova is to sound out the possibility that she can help in finding a solution.

He stressed that this was an effort dating back to Melina Mercouri that "unites us all and has been hailed by all governments and all culture ministry political leaderships." He said that he had already been in contact with members of an advisory committee set up for this purpose to discuss strategy and tactics.

Other issues on the agenda include the implementation of various UNESCO conventions on illegal trade in cultural artifacts, protection of intangible cultural heritage, protection of world heritage monuments and others. The minister will once again raise the issue of adding Greek monuments to the UNESCO list.

"In an era when public finances create barriers, culture can open roads. It is my decision to exercise cultural diplomacy where this is imperative and demanded by the country's interests," the minister said.

He also announced that plans were going ahead for the transfer of the culture ministry to the old Tsaousoglou factory, with the National Bank of Greece expected to present a detailed report next week and also unveiled his intention to promote a series of events dedicated to the Holocaust, in collaboration with the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece and the Israeli Embassy.

Source: Athens News Agency

Last Updated Friday, 19 July 2013
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