POSTED: May 11th 2011

Palestine and Israel respond to IOC by edging closer to sports understanding

Representatives of Israeli and Palestine sports bodies meet under the chairmanship of IOC president Jacques Rogge / IOC
Representatives of Israeli and Palestine sports bodies meet under the chairmanship of IOC president Jacques Rogge / IOC

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

LONDON/LAUSANNE: Israel and Palestine are making steady progress towards an easing of tension, at least over sports-related issues after the second round of meetings organise by the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne.

IOC president Jacques Rogge proposed the meetings between national Olympic committees of the two authorities during a vist to Jordan, the West Bank and Israel last October.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter will undertake a similar visit this coming weekend.

An IOC statement, sumarising talks, said: "A complete analysis was made on the issue of free movement of Palestinian athletes. Measures for the development of Palestinian sport, including cooperation between the NOCs of Palestine and Israel for the development of sport, were outlined. Participation by both NOCs in the Mediterranean Games was also discussed.

"The talks focused on an assessment of the travel difficulties currently encountered by Palestinian athletes, coaches and officials, and both parties again stated their support for the principal of free movement of athletes.

"The Israeli NOC will present Palestinian plans for a mechanism to facilitate the movement of athletes in the region to the government of Israel, taking into account the security issues in the region. In the short term, both parties also agreed to the setting up of a “hotline” between the two NOCs to deal with issues as they arise and to improve communication."

Simultaneously, the IOC and Olympic Solidarity pledged to continue to work closely with the Palestine Olympic Committee so it can benefit from a range of development and assistance programmes. Particular emphasis will be placed on assisting athletes aiming to take part in the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Rogge said: “The IOC has an obligation to support measures to protect athletes and to use sport as a tool for peace and development. We are encouraged by the frank and friendly discussions between the two NOCs, and will continue to work with them to ensure that further progress on sport-related issues is made.”

Keywords · Israel · Palestine · IOC · Rogge

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