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Page last updated at 21:32 GMT, Tuesday, 29 July 2008 22:32 UK

Iraq get green light for Beijing

Haidar Nozad (R) and Hamzah Hussein
Iraq's rowers missed out on a spot in Beijing

The International Olympic Committee has cleared the way for Iraq to compete in the Beijing Olympics after lifting its previous ban.

Iraq were banned last week following their government's decision to disband its National Olympic Committee, a move that angered the IOC.

But that decision was reversed on Tuesday when the government pledged to ensure the NOC's independence.

Iraq are to send two athletes, a discus thrower and a sprinter, to the Games.

Five other athletes lost their chance to go when the final date to select competitors for archery, judo, rowing and weightlifting passed last week.

The decision to lift their ban follows last-minute talks between Iraqi officials and the IOC in Lausanne.

"An agreement between the Iraqi government and the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday clears the way for Iraqi participation in the Olympic Games in Beijing," the IOC said in a statement.

"I commend the government of Iraq for reaching an agreement that serves the long-term interest of Iraqi athletes," IOC president Jacques Rogge said.

"We have said all along that we want to see Iraqi athletes in Beijing.

"We look forward to seeing the Iraqi flag in Beijing."

The government of Iraq disbanded the NOC in May because of a dispute over how it had been assembled.

The IOC gave Iraq a deadline to reinstate the committee but the government had refused to back down.

see also
Iraq banned from Beijing Olympics
24 Jul 08 |  Olympics
Iraqi athletes face Olympic ban
12 Jun 08 |  Middle East

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