Greece is stepping back from a fight with Britain over ownership of the Parthenon Marbles.

The Greek culture minister has declared that Athens will not pursue legal action to settle the bitter, decades-old dispute, despite the advice of international lawyers.

The move comes after a team of human rights lawyers in London, including Amal Clooney, told Greece in a 150-page report this week that suing the British government would offer the best chance of retrieving the sculptures if Britain rejected additional formal Greek requests to return them.

But the culture minister, Nikos Xydakis, suggested that the path of litigation was fraught with peril.

“You cannot go to court over every issue,” he said in an interview on Greek television.

“Besides, in international courts, the outcome is uncertain.”

Instead, Mr Xydakis said, he viewed the best means of securing the marbles as being through diplomacy.

“The road to reclaiming the return of the sculptures is diplomatic and political,” he said.

For decades, the Greek and British authorities have fought over the collection of sculptures and artefacts obtained in Athens by Lord Elgin, a British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, in the early 19th century.

The collection includes many pieces from the Parthenon, some of which Lord Elgin is said to have asked to be sawed off so that he could decorate his mansion in Scotland.

He later sold the pieces to pay off debts.