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Page last updated at 10:27 GMT, Saturday, 5 April 2008 11:27 UK

France sets Olympics conditions

Nicolas Sarkozy
Mr Sarkozy opposes a full boycott of the Games

France's human rights minister has set three conditions for President Nicolas Sarkozy's attendance of the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony.

Rama Yade told Le Monde newspaper Mr Sarkozy would miss the event unless China sought talks with the Dalai Lama and freed political prisoners.

She added that violence against Tibetans should end and the recent clashes be investigated.

The news came amid new reports of riots in a Tibetan area of western China.

The Olympic torch is due to arrive in Paris on Monday as part of the global relay ahead of the Games.

'Indispensable'

Ms Yade said Mr Sarkozy would decide whether to attend the Games after consulting European Union partners, because he would then be president of the EU.

Pro-Tibet protesters
Pro-Tibet protests have been taking place around the world

But she added that he would still boycott the ceremony if three vital conditions were not met by China.

"Three conditions are indispensable for him to go," she said.

"An end to violence against the population and the release of political prisoners, investigation of the events in Tibet and the opening of dialogue with the Dalai Lama.

"These discussions should be about the recognition of Tibetan autonomy and the spiritual, religious and cultural identity of Tibetans."

Mr Sarkozy said last month he was opposed to a full boycott of the Games but did not rule out pulling out of the opening ceremony.

US President George W Bush plans to attend the opening, while UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown intends to go to the closing ceremony.

Several Western nations have called for dialogue with the Dalai Lama, but China has accused him of orchestrating the recent violence.




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