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Olympic torch relay to proceed as scheduled

According to a top official of the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, the Olympics torch relay would pass through the region and reach the Mount Everest as planned despite the tense situation in Tibet.

world Updated: Mar 19, 2008 19:27 IST

Notwithstanding the tense situation in Tibet, the Olympics torch relay would pass through the region and reach the Mount Everest as planned, a top official of the Games to be held in the Chinese capital has said.

"The Tibet leg of the torch relay will proceed as scheduled", Jiang Xiaoyu, the Executive Vice-President of the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG), said.

Monks-led protests against government had erupted into violence Friday last, leaving 13 people dead, in the severest pro-independence stir in the last two decades.

The riots brought China under closer international scrutiny ahead of the Olympics in August even as it was trying to fend off attacks on its human rights record earlier.

Jiang was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua news agency said that the organisers firmly believed the regional government in Tibet Autonomous Region would ensure stability and a smooth run for the torch relay.

The Olympic flame will be lit in Greece on Monday and arrive in China on March 31, before the 137,000 km relay covering 134 cities across five continents is kicked off on April one from the Tianmen Square in Beijing.

The relay will end on August eight at the Olympics main stadium.

"The Beijing Games should not be politicised", Jiang said, adding, the boycott of the games went against the spirit of the Olympic Movement.

Tibet activist groups have called for stopping the relay passing through the region fuelling fears that protesters might try to disrupt the passage plans.

The Olympic flame is planned to be taken to Everests 29,035-ft summit when the weather conditions are favourable.