(HN, January 21, 2011) -- Snow-covered Lausanne was the setting Thursday for top officials from the Palestinian and Israeli Olympic committees to try to bridge differences and seek common ground for cooperation.
According to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the two sides conducted cordial and productive discussions - to the point of the Israelis offering Palestinian athletes training facilities for the 2012 London Olympics.
"The representatives of the Olympic Committee of Israel said that they were ready to offer training opportunities to Palestinian athletes." the IOC said in a statement sent to HUMNEWS.
The IOC also 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, the statement said.
The two sides agreed to meet in Lausanne following IOC President Jacques Rogge’s visit to the Middle East last October. During that visit he must have seen the dilapidated state of sports and training facilities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. A second meeting will be scheduled in two months’ time to review the progress made, the IOC said.
There was also an indication that the Israelis agreed to ease access for Palestinian athletes, coaches, officials and sports material, as well as foreign visiting athletes.
Athletes from the Palestinian Territory were first represented at the Olympic Games at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
- HUMNEWS staff, IOC