London: Dozens of officials in Syrian President Bashar Assad`s regime will be blocked from attending the London Olympics, Britain`s Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed on Wednesday as he pledged to make the event "the greatest show on Earth."
Cameron said those subject to international travel bans
and asset freezes would not be able to attend the sporting
spectacle, which takes place from July 27 to August 12.
"I don`t think we should punish the athletes for the sins
of the regime, so Syria will be taking part in the games and
that is right," Cameron told reporters as he held talks with
International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge, who
was in town for the IOC`s final inspection visit before the
"But let`s be absolutely clear, Britain has led efforts
within the European Union and elsewhere to institute asset
bans, travel freezes and punishing sanctions against this
despicable regime. Anyone covered by one of those travel bans
will not be welcome in London," Cameron said.
A total of 41 organisations and 127 people linked to the
Syrian regime have had European Union sanctions imposed upon
them, including Assad`s British-born wife, Asma. Diplomats
have conceded they could not prevent her from entering
Britain, but insist they do not expect her to try to travel to
Britain`s Home Office, which is responsible for border
control, will need to decide whether to grant a visa to attend
the Olympics to Syrian Olympic Committee president Gen.
Mowaffak Joumaa, a close Assad aide who is not currently
covered by sanctions.
The ministry can deny entry if it feels an individual`s
presence in Britain would not be "conducive to the public
Cameron said he, Rogge and London organising committee
chairman Sebastian Coe used their talks to discuss transport,
security planning and attempts to make sure ordinary people
benefit from the legacy of the London Olympics.