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Progress made as IOC hosts second meeting between Israel and Palestine Olympic Committees

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Progress made as IOC hosts second meeting between Israel and Palestine Olympic Committees

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) today welcomed the progress being made on sport-related issues between the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) of Israel and Palestine following the second joint meeting between the two, held at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne.

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.

In the months since the first meeting in January, experts mandated by the IOC travelled to Palestine to draw up a long-term sports development strategy with the Palestine Olympic Committee and relevant authorities. The IOC provided the Palestinian delegation with a comprehensive report that should serve as a basis for the development of sport and sports infrastructure in Palestine – and the IOC and OCA (Olympic Council of Asia) will jointly provide initial funding towards the project.

The IOC and Olympic Solidarity will 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.

During the meeting, the NOCs also agreed to cooperate on coaching and other practical support for athletes.

The meetings, described as constructive and held in a cooperative spirit, were first suggested during a trip to Israel and Palestine by IOC President Jacques Rogge in October 2010. It was proposed on Thursday that the next joint meeting would be held later this year in Ramallah in the Palestinian territory, with an eye to reviewing the progress made so far. A further meeting was proposed by the Israeli NOC to be held in Tel Aviv.

“The IOC has an obligation to support measures to protect athletes and to use sport as a tool for peace and development,” said President Rogge. “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.”

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International Olympic Committee

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011 - 23:00