Israel and Palestine Olympic Committees hold first meeting in Lausanne under IOC patronage
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) today hosted at its headquarters the first meeting between the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) of Israel and Palestine aimed at addressing a number of outstanding sports-related issues. Both NOCs agreed to convene in Lausanne following IOC President Jacques Rogge’s visit to the Middle East last October.Led by the IOC, the meeting was held in a very constructive and cooperative spirit. The free movement of Palestinian athletes, coaches, officials and sports material, as well as foreign visiting athletes, was widely discussed and a modus vivendi reached between the two NOCs. It was agreed that both NOCs will make an assessment of the current difficulties they face and work together on concrete proposals and a mechanism that would help improve the situation before referring to their respective public authorities. A second meeting will be scheduled in two months’ time to review the progress made.
Supportive measures for the development of Palestinian sport were also an important point on the agenda of today’s meeting. The IOC confirmed that it would provide experts to work on a long-term sports development strategy in Palestine in order to continue to assist not only the athletes but also coaches and sports administrators, and to identify ways to better promote sport and its values at grassroots level.
In the short run, priority will be given to assisting Palestinian athletes to move towards their dream of taking part in the Olympic Games in London next year. In that respect, the representatives of the Olympic Committee of Israel said that they were ready to offer training opportunities to Palestinian athletes.
The participation of Israeli athletes in international competitions was another subject raised during the meeting, and all participants stressed their good will to use when possible their influence to address the issue with the relevant parties.
NOTE TO EDITORSThe meeting was opened by IOC President Jacques Rogge, and attended by IOC Chief of Staff Christophe de Kepper and NOC Relations Department Director Pere Miró.
The Israeli delegation was composed of NOC President Zvi Varshaviak and NOC Secretary General Efraim Zinger.
The Palestinian delegation, headed by NOC President Major General Jibril Rajoub, included NOC Director of International Relations Khalid El-Yazji, Tanya Jaar from the International Affairs Desk of the Palestine Football Association, and Jérôme Champagne, advisor to the Palestinian Authority for the development of sport and football.
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