UK won't allow Belarus president to see Olympics

The British Embassy in Minsk has said Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko remains on the list of people banned from entering European Union countries, and that for this reason he will not be let into Britain to attend the London Olympics.

"President Alexander Lukashenko is on the list of people banned from entering European Union countries. This ban will remain in force during the Olympic Games, it is a decision that will not be changed," embassy spokeswoman Inna Romashevskaya told Interfax.

The head of the Russian National Olympic Committee, Alexander Zhukov, said the London Olympics organizing committee had denied Lukashenko, who is also president of the Belarusian National Olympic Committee, accreditation to the games.

"Aren't sports outside politics? How about Olympic values and traditions? Any schoolchild knows that a truce used to be made in Greece for [Olympic] games," Zhukov said in Twitter, according to Belarusian media reports on Wednesday.

There have been no comments yet from Belarusian officials.

Nor is it clear if Lukashenko planned to visit the Olympics.

However, a while ago he branded present-day Olympics as "dirty politics."

Olympics are "way behind" Belarus' Slav Bazaar arts festivals, he said in opening this year's festival in Vitebsk on July 12.

"Due to its number of participants and diverse program, Slav Bazaar may lay claim to being summer arts Olympics," the president said. "Olympics are way behind our Bazaar. They are politicized, there's a great deal of problems there," he said. "On the other hand, Slav Bazaar is an island of freethinking and independence. Our Slav Bazaar has a lot to be learned from."

Later on, in discussing the upcoming London Olympics during a meeting with the personnel of the Belaruskaly company, Lukashenko said: "Olympic Games are not sports, but a lot of politics. Dirty politics."

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