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31st Entrant--Montserrat--Boycotts Games

July 23, 1986|Associated Press

EDINBURGH, Scotland — On the eve of the 1986 Commonwealth Games, the tiny West Indian island of Montserrat became the 31st entrant to pull out of the international sports festival today, leaving 27 nations, colonies and territories to line up for Thursday's opening ceremony.

Meanwhile, the Edinburgh District Council, controlled by the main opposition Labor Party, was discussing a motion today to ban Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher from the games because of her intransigence over the sanctions against South Africa.

The motion, put forward by the Liberal Party group on the Council, says Thatcher, who is due to visit the Games on Aug. 1, should be denied an appearance "in the light of the disastrous effect of personal opposition to the consensus Commonwealth view that there should be sanctions against South Africa."

The Canadian sports minister held a news conference today and quashed speculation that his country might join the boycott.

'Absolute Support'

Otto Jelinek told reporters, "I'm delighted to be able to confirm that the Canadian team is going to participate. It has the total, full and absolute support of the government of Canada."

Rumors had circulated around the press center for the Games that because Jelinek's news conference was delayed by 24 hours--it was scheduled for Tuesday--the Canadian government was considering withdrawing its 286 athletes.

Jelinek confirmed that, saying, "The government, even as recently as last night, was still looking at all the options that were present."

Montserrat, a Caribbean island of 39 square miles, was to have made its Commonwealth Games debut with a team of three.

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