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Greece Bans Belarusian Sports Minister

Greek authorities have banned Belarusian Sports Minister Yury Sivakou, who is due to lead Belarus's delegation to the Summer Olympic Games from 11-29 August, from entering Greece.

The ban was agreed to by all EU members, and is based on Sivakou's alleged involvement in the disappearance of three opposition politicians and a journalist in Belarus.

In a December 2003 report, Cypriot lawmaker Christos Pourgourides, a Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe rapporteur on high-profile disappearances in Belarus, suggested that former Security Council Secretary Viktar Sheyman (now prosecutor-general) and Sivakou, a former interior minister, might have been involved in arranging the disappearance of Yury Zakharanka (7 May 1999), Viktar Hanchar, Anatol Krasouski (16 December 1999), and journalist Dzmitry Zavadski (7 July 2000).

The EU is expected to issue a statement on 6 August about the Sivakou ban.

(RFE/RL 06.viii.04)

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