Boycott plan denied by Palestine

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The Independent Online

Palestine's official representative to Australia said yesterday that his country was not planning to boycott the Olympic Games in September, denying earlier reports in an Australian newspaper.

"We've never planned to boycott the Olympics," Ali Kazak said in Palestine after arriving from Canberra. "This is not true. This issue has been solved a long time ago. There's no problem."

The Australian newspaper reported that Palestine objected to a monument unveiled last year at Sydney Olympic Park to commemorate the 11 Israeli athletes slain at the 1972 Munich Olympics and would call for an Arab boycott of the Games. It said this superseded earlier Palestinian concerns over a plan to hold a minute's silence for the Israeli athletes - a proposal which was rejected in February by the Sydney organisers.

Kazak said the issue had been resolved. "What we said is that if the minute's silence would go ahead, then we would demand that a minute's silence also to be included for the Palestinian and Arab athletes who have been killed by the Israeli army and security," he said. "The International Olympic Committee have already decided not to go along with the demands of the extremist Jewish community put to them. We reject the politicisation of the Olympics."