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Torch relay brings festive mood to Argentina: COA president
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The arrival of the Olympic torch in Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina, will bring the city into a festive mood, a top official of Argentine Olympic Committee (COA) said Friday.

"We will make the torch relay a festive event for all in Buenos Aires and in Argentina," said COA President Julio Cassanello, as the Olympic flame arrived in the country's capital city on Thursday at 17:00 local time.

It is the first time the Olympic flame has visited the mountainous country, and the last official tour through the American continent. The relay of the Olympic torch on Friday will include 80 people in its 13.8-km tour throughout Buenos Aires.

"I have been talking with the vice president of the COA on the phone the whole day. So far, everything is calm and ready for the Olympic torch," Cassanello said.

The COA president is in Beijing to attend the 16th conference of national and regional Olympic committees.

He said he regrets to see that the torch relay encountered some disruptions in London, Paris and San Francisco.

"The Olympics is about peace of the the world, not violence. We will make the torch relay in Argentina a festive event," he said.

He also praised Beijing's preparations for the Games, adding that the Olympic Village in Beijing is the best he had seen since he led the Argentine Olympic team to the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

The president said he is not concerned with the so-called boycott of the Beijing Olympics, saying that "all 205 member countries or regions of the IOC have already voiced their support for the Beijing Olympics in a joint statement."

"Argentina will send a 220-men team to attend the Games in August. Our star players, including Ginobili, Juan Roman Riquelme, Messi will all be at the Games, should their physical conditions allow," he said.

"I would like to see Argentine athletes give their best performance in the Beijing Games," he said. "And I hope the Beijing Olympics will be the most successful Games in history."

(Xinhua News Agency April 12, 2008)

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