The Human rights lawyer perhaps best known for her marriage to Hollywood actor George Clooney is heading to Athens to advise the Greek government on the controversial ‘Elgin Marbles’.
Mrs Clooney will meet Greece’s Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Culture Minister Konstantinos Tasouslas alongside her boss George Robertson. They will be in Athens between the 13th and 16th October.
In a statement released by Doughty Street Chambers a spokesman said:
“Mr Robertson and Mrs Clooney were first asked to provide legal advice to the Greek government on this matter in 2011. They will be holding a series of meetings with government officials during their stay.”
According to the Ekathimerini website, the latest drive for the return of the ancient monuments to Greece was instigated by David Hill, the chairman of the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon marbles who believes that Greece must seek recourse to law for their return from the British Museum.
Mr Hill had met the Greek Prime Minister in 2009 at the opening of the Acropolis Museum and on receipt of a ten page proposal from lawyers, including Mrs Clooney, sought a meeting with Mr Samaras.
On becoming Prime Minister in 2012 Mr Samaras, who has previously held the post of Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Culture and Sport in the Greek government, requested a meeting with the lawyers who had put the brief together.
It was during the promotion of his film ‘The Monuments Men’ about the rescuing of art work in Europe during the Second World War that George Clooney backed the return of the marbles, which were sculpted onto the Parthenon, to Greece.
At a press conference at the National Gallery, Clooney said he believed that it would be “a good thing” if the British Museum gave the 2,500-year-old sculptures back to Greece. He was backed by co-star Bill Murray, who said they had had “a very nice stay here” but now should be returned.
The marbles were brought to the UK by Lord Elgin who had removed them from the Acropolis in the early nineteenth century when the City was under the control of the Ottoman Empire after hearing that statues which fell from the walls were turned into lime.
Mr Samaras needs a positive news story to strengthen his support in the country which is still suffering from economic hardship following the eurozone crisis.
He avoided early elections for the immediate future after narrowly winning a vote of confidence in the Greek parliament by 14 votes this weekend but knows that the left wing Syriza party is snapping at his heels.
His government is preparing to enter talks with international creditors about the country’s bailout programme which amounts to 240 billion euros.