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EU divided over Olympics boycott

EU foreign ministers began two days of talks in Slovenia on Friday, under public pressure to send a strong message to China over Tibet but were divided over boycotting the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony.

world Updated: Mar 28, 2008 23:20 IST

EU foreign ministers began two days of talks in Slovenia on Friday, under public pressure to send a strong message to China over Tibet but were divided over boycotting the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony.

No one was seeking a full boycott of the summer games as they arrived for the talks at Brdo Pri Kranju, near the Slovenian capital Ljubljana, but most EU nations have openly condemned the Chinese crackdown on protests in Tibet which left some 140 dead, according to Tibetan leaders in exile.

However the question of a boycott of the Olympic opening ceremony on August 8 remained a possibility for some European nations, while for some others a decision not to attend was not linked to Tibet.

German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that as he arrived for the talks that neither he nor Chancellor Angela Merkel planned to attend the Beijing Olympics opening, but implied this was not linked to Tibet.

Steinmeier suggested non-attendance would not amount to any boycott of the summer games on account of China’s crackdown on the protests.

“The sports minister (Wolfgang Schaeuble) does not plan to participate, and I don’t think the chancellor or I will,” he told reporters as he arrived at the start of two days of talks.