NEWS

Games ban for Belarus official?

A controversial Belarus official selected to head the country’s sports contingent at the Olympics is expected to be refused entry to Greece because of his alleged involvement in human rights abuses in Belarus, the government said yesterday. In April, the Council of Europe urged Belarus to start a criminal probe into the possible involvement of Yuri Sivakov, the country’s minister for sports, in the disappearances of four dissidents in 1999 and 2000 – when Sivakov held the interior portfolio. Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos said yesterday that the Dutch European Union presidency might issue a statement on the matter today, adding that the EU political and security committee was discussing the matter. «According to information we have just received, the committee decided to start the proceedure for banning the issue of a visa (to Sivakov),» he said. «All our European partners have expressed clear and firm objections to (Sivakov’s) entry to (the EU).»