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Stubb Disagrees with PM on Olympics Attendance

Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb says that under current circumstances, he personally would not attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, noting that "human rights go before sports". Speaking at a luncheon with journalists in Helsinki on Tuesday, Stubb said, "It is terribly important that the human rights dialogue between China and Tibet continue -- in other words, between China and the Dalai Lama -- as well as between the Dalai Lama and the EU." Stubb did not directly criticise Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen -- who told YLE TV categorically on Saturday that he will attend the event on August 8th. Stubb said the matter has been discussed within the cabinet, but that no uniform stance has been agreed. He himself only joined the government two and a half weeks ago. The chair of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, Pertti Salolainen of the National Coalition Party, says the committee has not discussed how or whether Finland should be represented, adding that he has not made up his own mind on the issue yet. President Tarja Halonen has not said whether or not she plans to attend the event. She was attending a UN conference in Ghana on Tuesday and was unavailable for comment. YLE

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