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Swedish PM says 'no' to calls for boycott of Olympics
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08:28, April 15, 2008

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You know it's a good sign in a politician if he gives the same answer to a question wherever he stands.

That statement from Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt was greeted by applause from the audience at Peking University yesterday.

The students were pleased that he gave the same answer:

Last Tuesday, at a meeting of Nordic prime ministers in Sweden, Reinfeldt said that in his opinion "we should not boycott the opening ceremony or the Games".

Yesterday, speaking in a lecture hall of the university's overseas exchange center, he said: "I can tell you that I don't believe in it (the Olympic boycott)."

He was responding to a Chinese student's question on the violent attacks on the Olympic torch relay in London and Paris, and some politicians' call for a boycott.

Reinfeldt said he hoped the Olympics Games would be a success.

"They (the Games) bring the world together in competition, but also in personal meetings and interaction," he added.

Reinfeldt also proposed working with China on human rights in a constructive manner.

He attended a seminar with staff and students at the university's Research Center for Human Rights before the speech.

He also announced that Sweden would sponsor a visiting professor on human rights at the center, co-sponsored by Peking University and Lund University of Sweden.

"In Asia there are only two master's programs in international law and human rights. One of them is taught at this university," he said.

A student, who asked Reinfeldt about the disruptions to the torch relay, said he thought the speech reflected the Swedish leader's sincere attitude toward China's progress in human rights studies.

"Reinfeldt clearly doesn't have a political axe to grind with China," said Wu Jiazhu, a first-year master's student at the center.

Reinfeldt also singled out fighting climate change and global warming as a key issue during the first visit by a Swedish prime minister to China in 12 years.

"We have a major responsibility to future generations to ensure that we succeed in achieving sustainable development at both local and global levels."

Later, in discussions with Premier Wen Jiabao, Reinfeldt said different countries have different responsibilities in solving the problem according to their levels of development.

The two countries signed an agreement on environment and development, and a memorandum of understanding on environment and energy technology cooperation.

They also sealed pacts on trade and business including one on China Mobile buying telecom equipment from Ericsson.

Source: China Daily

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