BERLIN: The government of Kuwait twice refused to sign a deal hammered out in negotiations with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that would have lifted the Olympic ban on the country, the IOC said yesterday.

Kuwait was suspended in October, 2015, for the second time in five years due to government interference in the country’s Olympic Committee over a new sports law. Despite negotiations in January and Kuwaiti representatives twice approving a draft deal, the government refused to endorse it, Pere Miro, IOC Deputy Director General for Relations with the Olympic Movement said. “At the end of January with representatives sent by the government of Kuwait we had meetings in Geneva with the United Nations.

The United Nations was witness of the conversations,” Miro said. “We were discussing for five days and after that we got two times a draft already agreed between the negotiators. We got an agreement with negotiators on what should be changed in the law.”

“Every time with these two drafts the government at the end gave instructions to the negotiators not to sign,” Miro said.

The ban angered Kuwait which filed a civil lawsuit against the country’s Olympic committee and is also trying to get the Olympic Council of Asia, head-quartered there, to leave the country. Kuwait was also banned in 2010 over a similar dispute but was reinstated before the 2012 London Olympics.

The country’s football federation was also banned by world soccer’s governing body FIFA this month over government interference in the running of the Kuwait FA. As things stand, Kuwaiti athletes cannot compete under their own flag at the Games and must participate in the first Olympics in South America under the Olympic flag.

“Unexpectedly what happened three weeks later, the government of Kuwait, not the negotiators who had disappeared, sent to the United Nations a new proposal that had nothing to do with our discussions,” Miro said. “We could not accept that. “Sooner or later someone should move for the rational way,” he said. “If we got the agreement (and it was not signed), something else is behind this nonagreement.” “If you don’t sign it is because you have something else behind. I don’t know what it is,” he said. — Reuters