London, Apr 10: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said that he will not attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics on August 8 this year. Instead, Brown would be present for the Games closing ceremony, as he is the leader of the next Olympic host country.
However, the move could be seen as a snub to Beijing after it was widely reported in the Chinese press that Brown would attend the opening. President Nicolas Sarkozy of France has said that he was thinking about not attending the three-hour opening celebration. Pressure will now be on other world leaders to do the same.
Opinion against the Games has hardened after protests over China's occupation of Tibet disrupted the procession of the Olympic torch through London and Paris this week.
Meanwhile, according to The Telegraph, Olympics chiefs meeting in China bowed to their hosts by removing any mention of Tibet from a statement setting out its support for the Beijing Games.
The declaration was originally to have contained a call for the government to act over the province.
The national committees were meeting the day before a full meeting of the International Olympic Committee. It is expected to discuss the fate of the torch relay.