Cyrus, Sri Lanka, Seychelles, Join Boycott Of Commonwealth Games
LONDON (AP) _ The island nations of Cyprus, Sri Lanka and Seychelles today announced they would join 23 other countries in boycotting the Commonwealth Games to protest Britain’s opposition to economic sanctions against South Africa.
The announcements came a day after India, leader of the non-aligned movement, said it would not send athletes to the international sports event, which is held every four years for members of the association of Britain and its former colonies.
In Colombo, the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry said, ″The government after careful consideration has decided to withdraw from the (games) in a demonstration of Sri Lanka’s solidarity with the people of South Africa in their struggle against apartheid.″ Apartheid is South Africa’s racial separation system under which 5 million whites dominate 24 million voteless blacks.
In Nicosia, Cyprus, government spokesman Petros Voscarides said the government advised that the Cypriot team show solidarity with other Commonwealth members boycotting the games, a 10-day event to begin Thursday in Edinburgh, Scotland. The athletic committee concurred.
The Seychelles ambassador to London, Robert Delpech, told The Associated Press his government decided to withdraw its eight athletes ″in solidarity with the front-line states″ - South Africa’s black-ruled neighboring states.
Lesotho, a black kingdom surrounded by South Africa, said its athletes would not attend the sporting event because they were not up to standard, making it the 27th state to withdraw. Fifty-eight teams originally registered.
Meanwhile, reports that Queen Elizabeth II, titular head of the Commonwealth, was at odds with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher over the government’s South Africa policy continued to obsess the British press.
The British monarch is a symbol of national unity and contrained from playing a role in politics.
London’s Sunday Times quoted unidentified Buckingham Palace sources as saying the queen was ″dismayed by many of Mrs. Thatcher’s policies.″ The palace issued a strong denial, and a member of Mrs. Thatcher’s Conservative Party accused palace officials of ″mischief-making.″
″The queen, through the incredible stupidity of a few of her officials, has been set on a dangerous collision course with Mrs. Thatcher,″ columnist Joe Haines wrote today in the left-leaning Daily Mirror.
″It is potentially disastrous, the worst constitutional crisis since the abdication″ of King Edward VIII in 1936 to marry American divorcee Wallis Warfield Simpson, Haines wrote.
The liberal daily Guardian, however, ridiculed the affair.
″Never in history has so much been written about so few on the basis of such minimal and unconfirmable information,″ it said in an editorial.
Norman St. John Stevas, a Tory lawmaker and expert on constitutional monarchy, said: ″This is one of the silliest and most fabricated stories I have ever seen.″