French president skipping winter Olympics

The French president's snub of the Winter Olympics in Russia adds heft to a growing list of government officials not attending amid speculation that Russia's human rights record might be keeping foreign dignitaries away.
Posted By JC Finley  |  Dec. 16, 2013 at 9:38 AM
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Dec. 16 (UPI) -- French President Francois Hollande will not be attending the winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia in February 2014.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius made the announcement yesterday, "This (has) not been planned ... to attend... But at the same time I wish all the success for these games. But for now, it is not expected that the highest French authorities attend." He declined to further explain the French government's decision.

Earlier this month, German President Joachim Gauck announced he would not attend the games. German magazine Der Spiegel reported the president's decision was based in protest of Russia's human rights violations and harassment of opposition figures although the German government would not confirm that account.

In October, the International Olympic Committee announced that there would be no discrimination against gay athletes at the 2014 Winter Games. The announcement followed passage of Russian legislation that outlaws individuals from publicly identifying as homosexuals.

Viviane Reding, the European Commission deputy head, has also declined to attend the games.


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