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More countries reject boycott of Beijing Olympics
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More countries have made statements on the recent riots in Lhasa, capital city of China's Tibet autonomous region, voicing opposition to attempts to politicize the Beijing Olympic Games by making use of the Tibet issue.

Singapore's Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Vivian Balakrishnan said in a statement Tuesday that a boycott would mean many missed opportunities for better inter-cultural understanding.

It will also be a great disappointment for all the athletes who have trained so hard to fulfill their dreams of competing in the Olympics, he added.

The minister stressed that sports should be separated from politics.

"I believe it is vital to keep sporting competitions and politics separate. We must not let politics obstruct the celebration of sports and all that it stands for," he said.

Singapore is a firm believer in the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect, he said, adding that the Games will provide a golden opportunity for athletes from all over the world to compete on a friendly basis, interact with each other, and carry out fruitful dialogue and build lasting relationships.

Jordan and Norway also voiced opposition to a boycott.

Majed Al Qatarneh, secretary general of the Jordan Olympic Committee (JOC) told Xinhua in an interview on Monday that "sports is governed by the sporting spirit, which believes everyone is equal and calls for everyone to participate in the games."

"If there are some people who want to boycott the Beijing Olympics ... just leave them alone, we can still enjoy our great party!" Qatarneh said.

He spoke highly of the preparation work Beijing has already done for the Olympic Games and expressed Jordan's support to the Beijing Olympics.

China did more than what is required and expected, Qatarneh said.

"China has made good preparations for the Games and exerted great efforts in environmental improvement and infrastructure development, as said by the President of the IOC Jacques Rogge during the opening ceremony of the fourth World Conference on Women and Sports," he said.

"Jordan will continue to support the Beijing Olympics. First of all, as an Olympic committee, the JOC cares about the event and is keen to see a successful Games."

Raymond Johansen, state secretary of the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, said he did not believe isolation and a boycott of the Beijing Olympics will render any positive meaning.

He said the Norwegian government had conveyed its stance to the Chinese government.

The riot in Lhasa last Friday caused heavy losses of life and property, and seriously disturbed social order, according to the head of the Tibet Autonomous Regional Government.

Thirteen innocent civilians were burned or stabbed to death, Qiangba Puncog, chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Regional Government, told a news briefing in Beijing on Monday.

The unrest was "organized" and "premeditated" by the Dalai Lama clique, he said.

(Xinhua News Agency March 19, 2008)

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