March 26, 2008

EU Debates Olympic Boycott Over Tibet

Sarkozy does not exclude boycotting Olympics opening
26.03.2008 - 09:24 CET By Elitsa Vucheva
French president Nicolas Sarkozy on Tuesday (25 March) did not rule out boycotting the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games on 8 August in Beijing following China's crackdown on Tibet.
[...] Asked by journalists whether he was considering a boycott of the Olympic Games' opening ceremony in retaliation for the Chinese crackdown, Mr Sarkozy said he was not "closing the door to any possibility."
"Our Chinese friends must understand the worldwide concern that there is about the question of Tibet, and I will adapt my response to the evolutions in the situation that will come, I hope, as rapidly as possible," he said in Tarbes, southwest France.
[...] Ruprecht Polenz, chairman of the German Parliament's foreign affairs committee, on Tuesday echoed Mr Sarkozy's position.
He told Germany's South West radio that if China remained as "militant" as at present, he could not imagine German politicians "attending the opening or closing ceremonies." Meanwhile, during the official Olympic torch-lighting ceremony in Olympia, Greece on Monday (24 March) protests were held in several cities worldwide, while the ceremony itself was disrupted by pro-Tibet demonstrators showing the Olympic rings transformed into handcuffs.
[...] On Tuesday, European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso also rejected the idea of a boycott and said that he did not see the Games as a political event, reported AP.
By contrast, the president of the European Parliament Hans-Gert Poettering said that a boycott should be considered as an option."We should not exclude the possibility of a boycott of the Beijing Olympics. We want a successful Games, but not at the price of the cultural genocide of the Tibetans," he told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag on 23 March.
During a plenary session of the European Parliament in Brussels today (26 March), MEPs together with EU foreign affairs commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner and Slovenia's State Secretary for European Affairs Janez Lenarcic, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, will hold a debate on the situation in Tibet.

No comments: