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Sarkozy to attend Olympics opening ceremony

world Updated: Jul 09, 2008 11:14 IST

AFP
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French President Nicolas Sarkozy will attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games next month despite an earlier threat to boycott over a crackdown in Tibet, according to a statement.

Sarkozy told Chinese President Hu Jintao he would go to Beijing during a half-hour meeting on the sidelines of the Group of Eight industrialised nations summit in northern Japan.

"The president confirmed to the Chinese president that he intends to go to Beijing on August 8 to take part in the opening ceremony of the 29th Olympiad," a statement issued by Sarkozy's office in Toyako said.

Sarkozy had threatened to boycott the August 8 ceremony following a Chinese crackdown in Tibet in March that sparked international outrage, leading to speculation that some world leaders might shun the games.

"The head of state consulted all of his European counterparts and with their agreement will attend the opening ceremony in his double capacity as president of France and as president of the European Union," the statement said.

Sarkozy said earlier that his decision on whether or not to attend the ceremony would hinge on progress in talks between China and the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.