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Czech PM's presence at Olympics not necessary - Foreign Minister

March 31, 2008

Czech Happenings, Czech Republic

Prague- Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg (for the Greens) said
today he does not consider it necessary for Prime Minister Mirek
Topolanek (Civic Democrats, ODS) to attend the opening of the Summer
Olympic Games in China.

Topolanek said last week he would ask the government to make a decision
on his participation with regard for the developments in Tibet.

Schwarzenberg recalled in the Questions of Vaclav Moravec programme on
Czech Television that Nazi Germany abused the Olympic Games for
political goals in the 1930s.

He said he himself in his capacity as a politician does not consider it
important to take part in the games, but he wished athletes to be able
to take part in the competitions and to be successful.

Schwarzenberg as well as Greens chairman Martin Bursik said on Czech
Television it is up to Topolanek to make a decision on his participation
in the Olympics.

The Czech government condemned the violence with which China suppressed
an uprising in Tibet in the first half of March.

It demanded an immediate end to the violence, release of the
preventatively detained people and access of objective journalists to
the area of clashes.

Czech President Vaclav Klaus will not go to Beijing because he will
undergo a planned operation of a hip joint.

Education Minister Ondrej Liska (Greens) and Mayor of Prague Pavel Bem
(ODS) have announced they will not attend the games.
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