EU rules out boycott of Beijing Olympics

March 18th, 2008 - 12:50 am ICT by admin  

Brdo (Slovenia), March 17 (DPA) European Union officials Monday condemned the latest violence in Tibet, but said boycotting this summer’s Olympic Games in Beijing would not be the right answer. “We condemn violence. But nobody around the table gave their support to the idea that a boycott is the right answer,” Jan Figel, the EU commissioner responsible for sport, said after a meeting of the bloc’s sport ministers in Brdo, Slovenia.

Figel said that while ministers did raise the issue of human rights in China, the general agreement was that sport and Olympic cooperation should be used to promote universal human values.

Pat Hickey, the head of the European Olympic Committee, further argued that previous boycotts had not worked.

“The only people who are punished in a boycott are the athletes,” he said, noting that neither the Dalai Lama nor any world leader had yet spoken out in favour of a boycott.

China has come under intense scrutiny from western governments and human rights activists following a spate of violent protests in its Tibet Autonomous Region.

Beijing has blamed the Dalai Lama for encouraging pro-independence protests.

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