Sarkozy sets conditions for Olympic visit

French President Nicolas Sarkozy will not attend Beijing Olympics unless China opens talks with Dalai Lama.

Sarkozy sets conditions for Olympic visit

French President Nicolas Sarkozy will not attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics unless China opens talks with the Dalai Lama, Human Rights Minister Rama Yade said on Saturday.

"The end of violence against the people and the release of political prisoners, an investigation into what has been going on in Tibet and the start of a dialogue with the Dalai Lama," said Yade, spelling out the conditions for Sarkozy's attendance.

The French leader will decide whether to visit the Aug. 8-24 Games after consulting his European Union partners, Yade told Le Monde newspaper in an interview.

The Olympic torch is due to arrive in Paris on Monday as part of a global relay ahead of the Summer Games and protests by Tibetan activists are expected to snarl its progress through the city.

Fresh rioting broke out in a Tibetan area of China this week despite a security crackdown and threats of tough punishment for anyone involved in the unrest, which first blew up last month.

Many western countries have called on Beijing to hold talks with Tibetan Buddhism's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

China has dismissed the idea and accused him of orchestrating the violence from his exile in India.


Sun Weide, a spokesman for the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG), said organisers were making "every effort to welcome visitors, athletes and journalists from around the world to participate in the Olympic Games".

"Those who choose not to attend the opening ceremony, that is their personal decision. As far as we're concerned, we will redouble our efforts to welcome friends from around the world."

Yade said she understood the emotions sparked by Tibet and urged China to live up to its promises to promote human rights.

"If China does not rise to the challenge of human rights, the Games will be symbolised by events in Tibet," she said.


She also criticised China for condemning dissident Hu Jia to 3-1/2 years in prison last week for inciting subversion and criticising the ruling Communist party.

"We are asking for the immediate release of Hu Jia," she said. "A China without human rights will never become a truly great country."


The president of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) said his organisation was completely opposed to full or partial boycotts of the Games.

"Tibet is not a matter for the Olympic Games to solve," Mario Vazquezrana told a news conference in Beijing.

"It is a problem China has had for many years. When people die I feel very sorry about it. This is something that should not happen, but it is nothing to do with the Olympic Games.

"Any politician pushing for a boycott is making a serious error ..." he said. "We definitely say no to any boycott and yes to the Olympic Games."
Last Mod: 05 Nisan 2008, 17:37
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