E.U. weighs Olympic boycott over Tibet
The European Union meets Friday to discuss ties to China after the unrest in Tibet.
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A boycott of the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games is being discussed as a leverage point in Austria, Belgium, Britain, and France – to be determined by how China handles the frustrations of its Tibetan minority.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has "left open the option" of boycotting the ceremony, Germany has blocked talks with China on economic development, and Britain's foreign secretary, David Miliband, says that Tibet demonstrations will be authorized as the Olympic torch is carried through London on April 6.
Prince Charles, a friend of the Dalai Lama, had already decided in January not to attend the opening ceremony, he said, in a letter to a human rights group.
Europeans have long had a fascination with and sympathy for the Himalayan region and its Buddhist spiritual traditions – and the Dalai Lama is a frequent visitor to the Continent.
This Friday, Europe's foreign ministers meet in Slovenia, which holds the rotating presidency of the EU, to adopt a common position on relations with Beijing and "the suffering of Tibet," as French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner describes it.