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European Olympic Committee Chooses Belarus To Host 2019 Games

Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka addressed the European Olympic Committee general assembly in Minsk on October 21.

The 2019 European Games will be held in Minsk after the European Olympic Committee's general assembly approved the capital of Belarus as the sole candidate on October 21.

"I am glad to announce that Belarus is ready to host the second European Games in 2019," Belarus' President Alyaksandr Lukashenka said.

"Belarus has a modern infrastructure and facilities capable of staging international competition at the highest level."

Minsk has recently held major sporting events such as the track cycling world championships, the ice hockey world championship, and the European championships in speed skating.

Originally, the Netherlands was supposed to host the second edition of the Games, but it withdrew because of financial concerns.

Belarus received the backing of 43 National Olympic Committees at the Minsk meeting, according to the website. Denmark and Norway reportedly voted against while five nations abstained.

The inaugural multi-sport event was held in Baku in 2015 amid concerns over human rights violations in Azerbaijan.

Based on reporting by dpa and TASS