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Members of Congress Call on IOC to Strip Russia of 2014 Russian Winter Olympics

U.S. Reps. Schwartz, Shuster Call Russia’s Invasion of Georgia Unacceptable

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Rachel Magnuson (Schwartz), 202-225-6111,

August 14, 2008
202-679-1779 (cell), Rachel.Magnuson@mail.house.gov Jeff Urbanchuk (Shuster), 202-593-1040 (cell),
JG.Urbanchuk@mail.house.gov

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) and Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), the Co-chairs of the House Georgia Caucus, announced their intention to introduce a resolution when Congress returns to session calling on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to find a new venue for the 2014 Winter Olympics, which are scheduled to be held in Sochi, Russia.

The resolution states that the Russian Federation’s invasion of the Republic of Georgia, a sovereign and democratic nation, on the eve of the 2008 Summer Olympics makes it an unacceptable host for the 2014 winter games. It further states that the location of Sochi, a mere 20 miles from the current conflict zone makes it a practically unacceptable location for the Olympics and that had the (IOC) been aware of these circumstances at the time of awarding the games to Sochi that they would not have selected it as an Olympic venue.

“The Russian Federation’s invasion of the Republic of Georgia and its actions against its democratically elected president violates international standards,” said U.S. Rep. Schwartz. “Russia must realize that its actions in Georgia will not be ignored by the international community. We stand by Georgia, our friend and ally, and call on the IOC to designate a new venue for the Russian Olympics.”

“Russia’s belligerence against the people of Georgia and their democratically elected government cannot go unpunished by the international community,” U.S. Rep. Shuster said. “The Olympics are a time honored event that allows the nations of the world to put their differences aside for the purity of sport. Russia’s blatant violation of the long respected ‘Olympic truce’ should be enough for the IOC to join with us in choosing a more worthy venue for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Schwartz and Shuster are working in Congress to attract widespread, bipartisan support for the IOC to strip Russia of the 2014 Russian Winter Olympics. In addition, Schwartz and Shuster called upon foreign legislators to introduce similar resolutions in their respective parliaments to send a send message to Russia and the IOC that Russia’s actions should cause it to forfeit the Olympics.



Text of the Schwartz-Shuster Resolution:

CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

Calling on the International Olympic Committee to designate a new venue for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

Whereas, in July 2007, the City of Sochi in the Russian Federation was narrowly selected as the host site for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games;

Whereas the City of Sochi lies approximately 20 miles from the border between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Georgia;

Whereas, on August 8, 2008, only 400 days after the Russian Federation was selected as the host country for the 2014 Games, military forces of the Russian Federation invaded the Republic of Georgia in contravention of international law, the United Nations Charter, the principles of the Olympic Charter, and the Sochi Agreement of 1992, which governs the conduct of Russian peacekeepers in the region of South Ossetia;

Whereas the invasion of the Republic of Georgia by the Russian Federation coincided with the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China, contributing to the perception that the occasion of the Olympics was utilized to divert international attention away from the invasion of the Republic of Georgia;

Whereas military forces of the Russian Federation have advanced into and attacked the territory of the Republic of Georgia, grossly exceeding any mandate of Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia, and officials of the Government of the Russian Federation have sought to oust the democratically elected Government of the Republic of Georgia;

Whereas the actions of the Government of the Russian Federation contravene the principles of the Olympic Charter, which states that one of the Fundamental Principles of Olympism is to use sport toward ‘‘the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a peaceful society’’;

Whereas it is politically, economically, and practically untenable to hold the modern Olympic Games in close proximity to a zone of conflict;

Whereas the actions of the Government of the Russian Federation have created a zone of conflict less than 20 miles from the City of Sochi, the proposed site of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games;

Whereas there are other excellent venues available to host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, including the cities of Salzburg, Austria, and PyeongChang, South Korea, both of which were selected as finalists to host the 2010 Winter Olympic Games and the 2014 Winter Olympic Games;

Whereas the cities of Jaca, Spain, Almaty, Kazakhstan, Sofia, Bulgaria, and Borjomi, Georgia, also submitted bids to the International Olympic Committee to host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games; and

Whereas there is still sufficient time to designate a new host city for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games and to allow the new host city adequate time to prepare to host a successful Olympics: Now, therefore, be it

That it is the sense of Congress that—

(1) the failure of the Government of the Russian Federation to respect the sovereignty and territorial borders of its neighbors has rendered the country an unacceptable host for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games;

(2) it is practically and financially untenable to hold the 2014 Winter Olympic Games less than 20 miles from a zone of conflict, particularly when the prospective host country has played a significant role in the escalation of that conflict;

(3) the International Olympic Committee would not have selected Sochi as the host city for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games if its members had anticipated that the Russian Federation would invade the Republic of Georgia; and

(4) the International Olympic Committee should move immediately to designate a new host city for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

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Octobr 17, 2008 - President Bush Discusses the Visa Waiver Program
Office of the Press Secretary/ White House News

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. (Applause.) Please be seated, thank you. Welcome to the White House. I'm pleased to stand with the representatives of seven countries -- the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, and South Korea -- that have met the requirements to be admitted to the United States Visa Waiver Program. Soon the citizens of these nations will be able to travel to the United States for business or tourism without a visa. I congratulate these close friends and allies on this achievement, and I thank you for joining us here.

I also thank Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of the Homeland -- Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff for working hard to make sure this day has finally arrived. Appreciate other members of the administration here and members of the Diplomatic Corps.

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