Lithuanian president decides against going to Beijing Olympic Games

July 30, 2008 at 2:35 pm 2 comments

Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus decided not to go to the Beijing Summer Olympic Games 2008.

The president’s press service announced that  the President will not take part in the opening of the Olympic Games, however plans to attend the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) due this autumn.

The same press release stated that having noted that hosting the Olympic Games is a great honour and responsibility for any country, as it thus becomes committed to maintain and respect the spirit and principles of the Olympics, Adamkus wished China the best of luck in organizing this global athletic event.

The Lithuanian Head-of-State also hopes that the Olympic Games will help the world to become more familiar with China’s rich history, culture and people, and China’s opening up to the world and the dialogue and progress currently in development will be successfully continued after the games as well.

As the president decided against going to Beijing, the BNS noted that the Lithuania’s PM Kirkilas will be the highest-ranking Lithuanian official present in the Olympic Games. The prime minister will be visiting in China together with his wife August 17-25th.

In addition Mr Kirkilas observed that the president’s decision not to attend the Olympics is the only possible political move to draw the attention to the Tibet issue.  The PM said to the BNS:”I see the president’s move as a certain political move of support to Tibet’s independence aspiration. The president is not attending the opening ceremony, and participation in the Olympic Games in general is an entirely different thing. I am a guest invited by the International Olympic Committee and I intend to be there to support our athletes”.

However the Presidential palace made no comment to this remark.  Moreover, the small detail might be an answer to the silence.  The Presidential palace issued the statement about Adamkus’ decision soon after a non-formal freedom for Tibet support group operating in Lithuania presented the presidential palace with over 1,300 signatures calling Him to abstain from the Olympics in Beijing.

This is not the first time when Adamkus ignores big celebrations.  One of them was when Mr President declined an invitation from President Putin to celebrate 60th Anniversary of the end of the World War Two, in Moscow.

Still, one of the listeners on the radio, when commenting on the Adamkus decision not to go to Beijing was convinced that the President is not going because he has an environmentalist background and does not wish to see pollution in Beijing.

Entry filed under: Baltic States, Lithuania, Northern Europe, Politics, Sports.

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July 2008


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