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Olympic Official Confident Traffic Issue Can Be Resolved
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Chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, Hein Verbruggen, said on Sunday that the Chinese capital's worsening traffic issue could be resolved with 21 months to go before the Olympics open.

Verbruggen, on a Doha visit for the Asian Games, said traffic was one of the challenges Beijing was facing and the IOC had never expected it five years ago.

"We'd not foreseen five years ago that we would be in such a situation. With spectacular economic growth Beijing has 1,000 cars added to the traffic everyday," he told Xinhua.

Statistics showed that Beijing has 2.8 million registered motor vehicles including 1.97 million private cars. Traffic jams are a daily occurrence in rush hour. In many downtown areas cars and buses inch forward at a snail's pace.

But Verbruggen doesn't think traffic is a "problem" for the Beijing Organizing Committee of the 2008 Olympic Games (BOCOG) and he's confident that it can be resolved before the Games.

"It's a big challenge not a problem," said Verbruggen. "I'm not talking about problems but an issue. We're confident because I know they'll resolve it."

"We're waiting for the BOCOG to come up with solutions when there are challenges like this. We're confident that BOCOG and the authorities of Beijing will propose to us solutions if there are challenges," added Verbruggen. 

Speaking highly of the opening ceremony of the Doha Asian Games held on Friday night Verbruggen commented that Beijing could also show the world a similarly spectacular opening ceremony for the Olympic Games which would combine its own culture, heritage and sport.

"China is a very, very big country with a very large population," he said. "So there will be many possibilities to express Chinese culture and heritage. We're confident the BOCOG will do very, very well," he said.

The Dutchman, who has been to China many times since the city won the right to host the Olympics, praised Beijing's preparations for the global event. 

"We are very confident," he said. "All the promises made are kept. Everything the country promised is being delivered."

(Xinhua News Agency December 4, 2006)

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