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IOC President Says Beijing Games will Endure Despite 'Crisis'


The president of the International Olympics Committee says the Beijing Games will recover from a "crisis" involving anti-China protests that have marred the international torch relay.

Jacques Rogge made the vow Thursday at the opening session of IOC's executive board meeting in the Chinese capital. Rogge says the IOC was "saddened" by demonstrations that disrupted the carrying of the torch in London and Paris.

Rogge urged the leaders of the 205 national Olympic committees to reassure their athletes the Beijing Games will be well-organized. He also said athletes were free to express their opinions, but stressed there should no demonstrations at any Olympic site, venue or areas.

Rogge acknowledged Wednesday's torch run through San Francisco was better, but "not the joyous party" the organizers had hoped for.

Authorities in the California city changed and reduced the planned route of the torch relay to prevent a repeat of the disruptions in London and Paris. They also canceled the scheduled torch closing ceremony at the San Francisco waterfront.

San Francisco is the flame's only North American stop and home to one of the largest Chinese-American communities in the United States.

The torch's next stop is Buenos Aires, Argentina, where activists are planning further protests this week.

Separately, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's office said he will not attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing games and German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she has no plans to attend.

President Bush has come under pressure to skip the ceremony to protest Beijing's crackdown in Tibet. On Wednesday, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said she does not have the president's schedule for that time. She said Tuesday that there was no change in Mr. Bush's plan to attend the Olympics.

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

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