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Russia Says Antigay Law Will Not Affect Olympics

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak
Russia has assured the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that it will not discriminate against homosexuals during next year's Winter Olympics in Sochi, despite a law banning homosexual "propaganda" that has provoked sharp international criticism.

The IOC said in a statement that it had received a letter from Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak giving "strong" reassurances that "everyone will be welcome at the Games in Sochi regardless of their sexual orientation."

The IOC also quoted Kozak as saying that "Russia has committed itself to comply strictly" with the Olympic Charter, which bans any discrimination, including on grounds of sexual orientation.

Kozak's letter came after the IOC asked Russia for clarifications on the law and how it could impact on the Winter Olympics in Sochi, scheduled for February 7-23, 2014.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP

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