We have a brief up on the announcement that Israeli President Shimon Peres will participate in the opening of the Beijing Olympics.
Here’s the statement sent out by Prime Minister Olmert’s office …
The President of Israel, Shimon Peres, will participate in the opening of the 2008 Beijing Olympics together with Presidents and Heads of State from all over the world, including the President of the U.S.A., the President of France, the Prime Minister of Russia, the President of Turkey and the Prime Minister of South Korea
The Office of the President today officially informed the Chinese Olympics Committee that the President of Israel, Shimon Peres, has accepted the invitation of the administration and will participate in the opening events of the 2008 Beijing Olympics as President of the State of Israel.
It should be noted that the Chinese administration and the Olympics Committee invested great efforts in making the participation of the President in the Olympics possible, after having been informed by the President’s Office that the President would not be able to be present at the opening event in the stadium due to desecration of the Sabbath. The Chinese did not give up and decided, in an unprecedented step, to separate the President of Israel from the other Heads of State and to accommodate him in a special hotel which was built within the Olympics compound at a walking distance from the event arena.
The President’s Office staff, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Olympics Committee, together with the Chinese Embassy in Israel, are now working on the details of the visit which is due to take place around the opening ceremony of the Olympics on the evening of 8th October, 2008.
In a letter sent to the Office of the President by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs it was stated: “The Government of China places great importance in the participation of Heads of State and of outstanding personalities in the festive event which its leaders are holding to mark the opening of the games.”
In addition the Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted, “The presence of President Peres in the Olympics opening event has an additional symbolic significance, as President Peres is the Honorary President of the Israel-China Friendship Association and among the architects of the important relations between the two countries.”
In the message conveyed by the President of Israel to the Chinese Administration, President Peres said that “the Beijing Olympics is an international sporting event which is meant to promote the fraternity and peace between peoples and that he sees great importance in the strengthening of the relations between Israel and China and in promoting the economic, cultural and security ties.”
It should be noted that recently the President of China sent invitations to a special conference he is holding for world leaders. Among those who have confirmed their participation are the President of the U.S.A., George W. Bush; the President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy; the President of Turkey, Abdullah Gül; the Prime Minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin; the Prime Minister of Korea, Myung-sook Han; the President of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva; the Prime Minister of Japan, Yasuo Fukuda, and the Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Michael Rudd.
During his stay in China the President of Israel will hold a wide range of political meetings with world leaders and will take the opportunity to disseminate extensive information on Israel. On the arrival of the President in China the traditional hoisting of the flag by the Israeli Olympics delegation in the Olympics village will take place with the participation of the heads of the Israeli Olympics delegation including all the sports people and their trainers, representatives of the Olympics Committee and dignitaries including the Mayor of Beijing. On this occasion the President will wish the members of the Olympics delegation success.
It should be noted that the President of Israel will leave on a regular flight and will be accompanied by a small delegation.