Slovak President Ivan Gašparovič is not to discuss human rights during his visit to the Summer Olympics in Beijing. The president's spokesman, Marek Trubač, made the statement in reaction to a letter from Amnesty International that urged the Slovak head of state to speak out about respect and protection of human rights with Chinese officials.
The president's agenda in China includes no official meetings or talks. Trubač explained that the head of state was invited by the International Olympic Committee, which means it is not an official state visit. The president wants to support Slovak sportsmen and sportswomen who represent the country abroad and contribute to its reputation.
U.S. President George Bush, Japanese Prime Minister Jasuo Fukuda, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin are attending the opening ceremonies. German President Horst Kohler and Chancellor Angela Merkel, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper have decided not to attend due to alleged human rights violations in Tibet. Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek is going to Beijing, but will wear a tag bearing the Tibetan flag. SITA
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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