France seeking EU response after US Olympics boycott

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Dec 07 2021 10:36 PM

France said Tuesday it would seek a coordinated EU response after the United States announced a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. 

The decision, which stopped short of preventing athletes from attending, comes after Washington spent months wrangling over what position to take on the Games, which begin in February.

The decision was taken over what the United States termed China's "genocide" of the Uyghur minority and other human rights abuses.

France said it was examining the issue after the announcement. 

"We have taken note of the American decision," an official in President Emmanuel Macron's office told AFP. 

"We will coordinate at the European level."

France takes over the rotating six-month presidency of the European Council on January 1, and Macron is set to lay out his priorities for the term at a press conference on Thursday.

"When we have concerns about human rights, we tell the Chinese so," the official said, adding that France had imposed sanctions against China last March over human rights abuses in the mostly Muslim Xinjiang region.

Because of Covid-related entry restrictions, few world leaders are expected to attend the winter Games that are scheduled from February 4 to 20.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has, however, already accepted an invitation by Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

The Kremlin on Tuesday criticised the United States for announcing the diplomatic boycott, saying the Games should be "free of politics".

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