British PM rejects Olympics boycott call

April 6th, 2008 - 10:39 am ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Gordon Brown

London, April 6 (IANS) British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has rejected calls to stay away from the Beijing Olympics, saying the Dalai Lama himself opposes such action. “Any violence in China is to be condemned and I do urge restraint all round,” he told a conference of international centre-left leaders Saturday.

“It is important that we recognise that the tensions between those in Tibet and the Chinese authorities can only in the end be solved by dialogue.”

“The Dalai Lama himself says he does not want to see a boycott of the Olympics and that is why I have said that as the host country for the 2012 Olympics I will attend the (Beijing) Olympics as I know many others will do,” he added.

Although Brown has agreed to meet the Dalai Lama when the Tibetan spiritual leader visits Britain in May, the British leader has been under pressure following hints by French President Nicolas Sarkozy that he may consider a boycott.

The leader of Britain’s third largest political party, Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats, urged Brown Friday not to participate in the Olympic torch ceremony in London or the opening ceremony in Beijing Aug 8.

“Recent events in Tibet, broken promises over media freedoms, ongoing human rights abuses and intransigence over the humanitarian catastrophe in Darfur demand a response,” he said in a letter to Brown.

“Serious concerns cannot be swept under the carpet for the sake of ceremonial duties. Unless and until China takes steps to honour the spirit of the Olympics, as laid out in the Olympic Charter, I do not believe that the British prime minister can attend the Beijing Games in good conscience,” Clegg added.

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