Iraq to hold talks with IOC to compete in Beijing Olympics

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Baghdad, Jul 27 (UNI) In an attempt to lift the ban on Iraqis competing at the Beijing Olympics, a delegation from the West Asian country has gone to Switzerland to hold talks with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The Iraqis will meet with the IOC representatives early next week at the committee's headquarters in Lausanne, IOC spokesperson Giselle Davies said.

She said the Iraqis have offered the IOC ''productive signals'' that could allow two athletes from the original seven-member Iraqi team to compete in Beijing.

Earlier this week, the IOC had upheld its ban on Iraq for what it calls political inference in Olympic affairs.

In May, the Iraq government replaced the National Olympic Committee with members not recognized by the IOC.

The IOC, meanwhile, has insisted the old committee be reinstated even though four members remain missing, including the committee's chief.

A member of the sports committee in Iraq's parliament Ahmed Radhi was quoted by the sports newspaper Azzaman as saying that he still hopes for a compromise with the IOC before the August 8 opening ceremony of the Games.

The Iraqi envoys who headed to Switzerland yesterday for the talks include the government's main spokesperson and other senior sports representatives.

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