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Olympics: IOC hopes unrest will not extinguish Olymic flame tour

The IOC hopes that unrest in Tibet would not prevent the Olympic flame making its traditional pre-tournament trek through China ahead of this summer's Games in Beijing.

world Updated: Mar 18, 2008 04:38 IST

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Monday it hoped that unrest in Tibet would not prevent the Olympic flame making its traditional pre-tournament trek through China ahead of this summer's Games in Beijing.

"The IOC calls for a peaceful solution to the events of recent days in Tibet," the organisation said in a statement.

The Olympic flame is due to be lit on March 24 at Olympia, Greece, and will then criss-cross China, while also making a scheduled stop in Lhasa, Tibet.

"The Olympic flame, which is due in Lhasa in June, is a powerful symbol which brings the peoples of the world together to overcome their differences," the IOC said.

"The IOC hopes the flame will be able to continue along its route as scheduled."

The IOC, whose president Jacques Rogge is currently in the Caribbean, has yet to make an official statement about the unrest in Tibet, save to express the hope that the situation calms down.

Earlier Monday, amid calls from some quarters that the Beijing Games should be boycotted, the president of the Swiss National Olympic Committee, Joerg Schild, called on the IOC to break its silence.

"We can't just watch and wait and say nothing," said Claudia Imhasly, spokeswoman for Schild.

Schild said over the weekend that the credibility of the Olympic movement will be at stake if there is no official reaction to the recent crackdown on protests by Buddhist monks and other demonstrators in Tibet.

"Whoever remains silent in the face of the latest events gives the impression that they do not care about the fate of the people in the host country," Schild said in a statement released on Sunday.