Should conservation and politics mix?

The five Caryatid statues in the Acropolis Museum (Athens) have been cleaned of centuries of pollution in a three and a half year conservation treatment program utilizing lasers and are now on display in time for the fifth anniversary of the museum’s opening. Liz Alderman noted in an article in the July 8, 2014 issue of The New York Times (“Acropolis Maidens Glow Anew”) that the cleaning and display are being used to press Greece’s case for the return of the sixth Caryatid and the other Parthenon treasures in the British Museum as they show that Greece is capable of properly caring for the pieces. Whatever side we are on in terms of the ownership of these works, what are our feelings when conservation becomes a tool of politics?