Czech prez Klaus not going to GamesEdit

03/26/08 02:25 PM, EDT

PRAGUE, Czech Republic (AP) -- Czech President Vaclav Klaus is staying away from the Beijing Olympics.


In remarks published on his personal Web site Wednesday, Klaus said he would not attend the opening ceremony or any of the Aug. 8-24 games.

He gave no reason for his decision but said it should not be seen as punishment for China's crackdown in Tibet.

"I do not plan to travel to the Olympics in China, but my motivation is not a threat to China," Klaus said. "I am also not sure if the absence of a politician at the opening ceremony could be considered a warning."

Klaus had been invited to attend to attend the games by the Czech Olympic Committee.

"We fully respect his decision," said Jan Martinek, spokesman for the Czech committee.

Three other Czech officials -- Environment Minister Martin Bursik, Education Minister Ondrej Liska and Prague Mayor Pavel Bem -- have specifically said they will not go to the Beijing Olympics because of the situation in Tibet.

Klaus' comments came a day after French President Nicolas Sarkozy suggested he could boycott the opening ceremony over Tibet. The Belgian government said Wednesday it did not rule out a complete boycott if the situation in Tibet worsened.

The European Union ruled out a full boycott again Wednesday.

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