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Olympic Torch Arrives in Oman, Pakistan Pledges Tight Security During its Leg


The Olympic torch arrived in Oman Monday where it is expected to have a protest-free visit - the torch's sole Middle East stop on its way to Beijing.

At a low-key ceremony in the capital, Muscat, the sports minister, Ali bin Massoud bin Ali al-Sunaidi, and representatives of the Chinese diplomatic mission greeted the torch upon its arrival from Tanzania.

Last week, the torch relay drew large and chaotic protests in London, Paris and San Francisco. Recent stops in Buenos Aires and Tanzania passed without major incident.

Dozens of Omani athletes will carry the torch on a 20-kilometer route Monday through Muscat and along its scenic waterfront.

The torch's next stop, April 16, will be the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.

Several legs of the international torch relay have had to be rerouted and shortened to ensure security.

Officials in Australia have said they are changing the relay route through the capital, Canberra, to enable tighter security there. The torch is scheduled to arrive in Canberra April 24.

During a visit to Beijing today, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf condemned the protests that plagued the torch relay on stops in Europe and the United States.

He criticized Western leaders and the media for politicizing the Olympics, and pledged to maintain security for the flame when it is in his country later this week.

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