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Wednesday, April 26, 2000
SOCOG denies any plans for Palestinian boycott

 SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- Olympic organizers have denied a published report that Palestine is threatening to ask Arab countries to join a boycott of the Sydney Games.

 A spokesman for the Sydney Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG) said Wednesday that the front-page story in The Australian newspaper was a "terrible ... beatup."

 The story said Palestine objected to a monument unveiled last year at Sydney Olympic Park to commemorate the 11 Israeli athletes slain at the 1972 Munich Olympics and would call for an Arab boycott.

 The story quoted a Palestine journal threatening a boycott, but the SOCOG spokesman said that was only a consideration if a minute of silence was held at the opening ceremony for the Israeli athletes.

 That proposal was rejected by the SOCOG board in February.

 "The story is based on a false premise," the spokesman said.

 A spokeswoman for the Australian government said it had not been advised of any protest and it was unusual for it not to be.

 Palestine, which is yet to be sanctioned as a separate state, sent two athletes to the Atlanta Games in 1996.
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