BERLIN/NEW YORK (DPA) – Three weeks before the Olympics kick off in Beijing, the European Union is still struggling to find a common position on the diplomatic boycott.
Chancellor Olaf Schulz (Social Democratic Party) said in Berlin that the vote within the European Union on this issue is still going on. “This process is not yet complete in all respects.” The topic could also play a role in the meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Brest, France, on Friday.
The United States announced weeks ago that it would not send any official representative for the games from February 4-20 in China. Australia, Canada, Great Britain and New Zealand joined. The background is above all the human rights situation in the world’s most populous country. The leadership in Beijing has been criticized for its dealings with Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang and Tibetans, but also for suppressing the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong and threats to Taiwan.
The Olympic Opening Ceremony on February 4
Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is traveling to Beijing to attend the opening ceremony. The Portuguese announced this in New York. “First of all, the Olympic Games are a very important event, an event that symbolizes the role of sport in bringing people together and promoting peace,” Guterres said. He therefore intends to be present “without any political dimension” at the opening ceremony on February 4, “with the message that the Olympic Games should be an instrument for peace in the world”.
Foreign Minister Annalena Barbuk (the Greens) and Interior Minister Nancy Visser (SPD) announced at the end of December that they would not travel to the Games in Beijing. However, they both made clear that these are personal decisions that have nothing to do with the primary political decision on the diplomatic boycott. Schulz did not respond to a question about whether he had personally decided for or against the trip at a news conference with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
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