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Couchepin to attend Beijing Olympics

Swiss President Pascal Couchepin has confirmed that he will go to the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Beijing on August 8.

There had been uncertainty over his attendance since riots in Tibet in March, which left a number of people dead.

Couchepin justified his decision on the grounds that Switzerland houses the seat of the International Olympic Committee and that it was therefore “natural” that he should go. He said his ministerial colleagues had left the decision up to him.

Speaking to foreign journalists on Tuesday he expressed the hope that China would continue to make progress over human rights.

In the immediate aftermath of the riots Couchepin had said he “expected” to go.

The events in Tibet sparked worldwide protests and calls in some quarters for a boycott of the Olympics.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR