BERLIN/New York (DPA) – Three weeks before the start of the Olympic Games in Beijing, the European Union is still struggling to find a common position on a diplomatic boycott.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) in Berlin said it was still the case that voting was still ongoing within the EU on the issue. “This process is not quite complete yet.” The topic could also play a role in the meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brest, France, on Friday.
The United States announced weeks ago that it would not send any official representatives to the Games in China from February 4 to February 20. Australia, Canada, Great Britain and New Zealand joined. The most populous country in the world has the background of all human rights. The leadership in Beijing has been criticized for its treatment of Muslim Uighurs and Tibetans in Xinjiang province, but also for its suppression of the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong and threats against Taiwan.
Olympic opening ceremony on 4 February
On the other hand, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will travel to Beijing for the opening ceremony. The Portuguese announced it in New York. “First of all, the Olympics is an extremely important event, and it is an event that embodies the role of sport in bringing people together and promoting peace,” Guterres said. He therefore intends to appear “without any political dimension” at the opening ceremony on 4 February, “with the message that the Olympic Games should be an instrument for world peace”.
Foreign Minister Annalena Berbock (Greens) and Interior Minister Nancy Fesser (SPD) announced in late December that they would not travel to the Games in Beijing. However, both clarified that these are personal decisions that have nothing to do with the fundamental political decision of a diplomatic boycott. Scholz did not respond to questions about whether he had personally decided for or against the visit at a press conference with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Root.
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