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France Sets Conditions for Sarkozy's Olympics Visit


A French minister says President Nicolas Sarkozy will boycott the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics unless China frees political prisoners and starts dialogue with the Dalai Lama.

French Secretary of State for Human Rights Rama Yade said Saturday Mr. Sarkozy will decide whether to travel to the Games in August, after consulting his European Union partners.

Separately, Paris-based Reporters Without Borders says it has obtained an internal memo about Tibet circulated within the International Olympic Committee.

The media rights group says the document circulated by IOC chief Jacques Rogge lays out a communication strategy for dealing with criticism of the Chinese government's crackdown on Tibet and Chinese human rights activists.

The 11-page memo is reported to have given IOC staff a list of China's human rights improvements to balance criticism from various countries and international groups.

Reporters Without Borders says the IOC's public relations department wrote the memo on March 17, several days after protests began in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa.

The IOC has not confirmed the document's authenticity, but an official on a visit to Beijing this week rejected rights groups' accusations that the Olympic Games have contributed to a worsening situation in China's human rights.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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