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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 March, 2005, 18:58 GMT
Inspectors praise Paris 2012 bid
Jacques Chirac greets International Olympic Committee inspection panel chairwoman Nawal El Moutawakel, of Morocco
President Chirac gave the IOC team an effusive welcome in Paris

Olympic inspectors rounded off their Paris visit by hailing the city's bid for the 2012 Games as "excellent".

Paris is widely regarded as a favourite to win the Games but workers' strikes had threatened to disrupt the evaluation commission's visit.

But commission leader Nawal El Moutawakel said of the protests: "It's part of this society, this democracy.

"The strike did not affect our work. People were demonstrating wearing 'Paris 2012' T-Shirts."

El Moutawakel added: "We have to congratulate the bid committee on the excellent quality of its candidacy file.

"I will not grade its importance from one to 10, but it is important, very important."

She also praised the committee for its "presentations, as well as for its exceptional team work and its professionalism" and described the visit as "very, very productive."

Meanwhile, President Jacques Chirac pledged the "complete backing of France and the French people" for Paris' bid to host the 2012 Olympics.

"France is ready to become, for the 30th Olympiad, the homeland of the Olympic movement," Chirac said.

He added that the French people supported the bid with "all their heart". And Chirac said he personally backed the bid with "all my strength, all my conviction and all my determination".

Paris sought to bolster its bid by unveiling an unprecedented security force to protect the Games.

Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin told the inspection team: "Security is a key factor for the Olympic Games."

We think our country needs the Olympic Games for its development, for lasting development, to make it attractive
French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin

De Villepin said the government would be able to mobilise day and night a force of 41,000 policemen and soldiers, 3,200 firemen and 2,500 first aid personnel.

Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin earlier called for an "Olympic pact between all French people" to ensure Paris wins the bid for the Games.

"It's not the candidacy of one city but of all French women and men," Raffarin said at a function attended by the IOC team.

"We expressed France's desire to strongly and wholeheartedly support the candidacy of Paris for the 2012 Olympic Games.

"We think our country needs the Olympic Games for its development, for lasting development, to make it attractive. We have presented the assets of France but also the desires of France."

On Thursday, the evaluation team were kept well away from a day of strike action in the French capital.

Instead they visited the Stade de France, prospective Olympic Village sites, the Roland Garros tennis arena and finally the Eiffel Tower.

Paris Mayor, Bertrand Delanoe, said: "Nothing got in the way of the committee's work.

"People were in the streets for different reasons but still found time to encourage us. We have responded to all questions and we have expressed our love of the Games."




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