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MOSCOW, April 13 (Itar-Tass) — General Assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committees /ANOC/ opened Friday morning at Moscow's World Trade Center.
The forum has brought together about a thousand participants from more than 200 countries and the top officials of the International Olympic Committee, sports ministers, and ANOC officials.
The list of delegates includes IOC President Jacques Rogge and Russia's National Olympic Committee President, Alexander Zhukov.
Jacques Rogge said it was a great pleasure for him to come to Moscow again. He recalled the day eleven years ago when he was sitting in the same hall and awaiting impatiently the official release of the results of voting on a person that was destined to replace Juan Antonio Samaranch.
He said he would like to thank the organizers of the General Assembly session for a nice level of organization.
Alexander Zhukov, on his part, pointed out a special feature of this particular session.
"I'm tremendously glad to welcome all the guests here today," he said. "One can see the flags of 204 countries here, and this is more than the entire membership of the United Nations."
"Along with this, we bear a special sort of responsibility because we'll be receiving the Winter Olympic Games and the organizing committee of the Games is expected to make public its report here," Zhukov said.
The first presentation of bids of the cities that have aspirations to hosting the Summer Olympic Games in 2020 will be done Saturday, April 14, as ten-minute video clips will be shown by Azerbaijan's capital Baku, the Qatari capital Doha, Madrid, Istanbul and Tokyo.
ANOC members have already elected a new President, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, who has replaced Mario Vazquez Rana.
"This is a big responsibility for me, and many things we should do together after the success of our first President, Mr Mario Vazquez Rana. I want to be a coordinator between all of our NOCs and Executive Council colleagues," Sheikh Ahmad said upon his election.
"I promise I will work hard and work closely with you, and will be open for communication," he said. "With our unity and solidarity we can achieve success."
"We are proud of being part of the sports and Olympic Movement. Let's continue our success story. Let's continue what our ex-president and colleagues have done. Let's continue to work hard and move forward for our future generations."