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Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) does not believe in a political boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics. Austria “opposes the politicization of the Games,” said Nehammer of the German daily Welt (Tuesday edition). He added that due to the high requirements of Covid in China, there will be no visits by high-ranking politicians from Austria. The United States announced a boycott of Beijing 2022 the previous week.
Then Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler (Greens) told APA that he would refrain from traveling to the Winter Games due to the human rights situation in China. Kogler said he announced it to the Austrian Olympic Committee two months ago. “On the issue of support for a diplomatic boycott, talks must take place at the government level, but above all at the European level,” added the Green Party leader.
And while many allies joined the move announced by the White House last Monday, the response in Europe has remained low. German Foreign Minister Annalena Barbock (the Greens) confirmed on Monday evening that the European Union foreign ministers could not agree on a common line at their meeting on Monday. China responded sharply to the announcement of the US boycott and promised retaliatory measures.
In response to a question from “The World”, Nehamer said whether Austria would participate in the boycott: “High-ranking politicians from Austria will not visit the Olympic Games in China. However, this is not a protest or a diplomatic boycott, it is only due to the fact that the requirements of Covid In China it is really very high.” Because of these requirements, politicians in China were not able to meet with athletes in person. “I prefer to meet our athletes in person in Vienna,” said Nahamer. “We are against the politicization of the Games and we vote in the European Union,” he added.
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