Broad consensus over Norwegian boycott of Olympics ceremony

Other News Materials 3 April 2008 13:15 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - There is broad political consensus in Norway to consider a boycott of the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, leading politicians said Thursday.

Olemic Thommessen, cultural affairs spokesman for the opposition conservatives, said both the ruling red-green coalition and opposition agreed on a possible boycott.

"An official abstention at the opening ceremony is a very likely scenario unless things change," Thommessen told Norwegian public broadcaster NRK.

Culture Minister Trond Giske, who has earlier mulled a boycott over the recent Chinese crackdown in Tibet, said he also had doubts whether official Norwegian representatives should take part at the opening ceremony.

"It would be a clear signal if we stay away, and threats from many countries to stay away might be something that makes the Chinese authorities react," Giske told NRK.

On Wednesday, human rights watchdog Amnesty International presented a report about its concerns over continued human rights violations in China.

Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store said he would raise the matter with Chinese authorities about arrests of regime critics.

The acting head of the Norwegian branch of Amnesty International, Ina Tin, welcomed the politicians statements but said it was important to put pressure on China before the Olympic Games commence.

Polish prime minsister Donald Tusk said he will not attend the opening ceremony of the August 8-24 Games and EU foreign minsisters did also not rule out such a move last week.