Sarkozy at Olympic opener only if China meets terms

April 5th, 2008 - 9:24 pm ICT by admin  

DPA
Paris, April 5 (DPA) French President Nicolas Sarkozy will attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics only if China meets three conditions which include opening talks with the Dalai Lama, according to a cabinet member. Human Rights Minister Rama Yade told Le Monde newspaper that China must end violence against its population and release political prisoners, investigate the events in Tibet and talk with the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader.

Yade described these conditions as “essential for him (Sarkozy) to go” to the opening ceremony Aug 8.

Sarkozy has said on several occasions that he could stay away from the opening ceremony. Yade said he would make his final decision based on the situation in China and after consultation with other European Union countries.

Sarkozy will be the president of the EU from July 1.

Yade’s statements came amid reports of new unrest in China and two days before the Olympic flame passes through Paris as part of the torch relay for the Beijing Games.

Yade said she could understand the planned protests in the French capital during the torch relay, and said: “France is the country of human rights.”

She said China had promised improvements on the human rights issue when it was awarded the Olympics in 2001 and must now live up to it.
DPA

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