Winter Olympics: the European Union fights for a common position – the presence of the Secretary-General of the United Nations – sports

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres intends to be present at the opening ceremony “without a political dimension”. Photo: Mark Garten/UN/DPA

Some Western countries such as the USA or Great Britain have announced that they will not send any political representatives to the Winter Games. Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Guterres is traveling to attend the opening ceremony.

BERLIN/NEW YORK – Three weeks before the Olympics kick off in Beijing, the European Union is still battling for a common position on the diplomatic boycott.

Chancellor Olaf Schulz (Social Democratic Party) said in Berlin that voting within the European Union is still going on on this issue. This process is still in progress in all respects.” The issue could also play a role on Friday at the meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brest, France.

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 followed suit. The main reason for this is the human rights situation in the world’s most populous country. The leadership in Beijing is under criticism for its treatment of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang and Tibetans, but also for its suppression of the democratic movement in Hong Kong and threats to Taiwan.

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 and an event that symbolizes the role of sport in bringing people together and promoting peace,” Guterres said. He therefore intends to be present at the opening ceremony on February 4 “without a political dimension”, “with the message that the Olympic Games should be a tool for peace in the world”.

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Foreign Minister Annalena Barbuk (the Greens) and Interior Minister Nancy Visser (SPD) announced at the end of December that they would not travel to Beijing for the Games. Both made clear, however, 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 actually decided in person or against the trip at a news conference with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

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