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Czech Republic Senate and Lithuanian Parliament vote against Rus

Lithuania’s parliament voted unanimously to call on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and other sports bodies to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from competition until war in Ukraine has ended, war criminals are prosecuted and reparations paid.

The Seimas, in its motion, said it was certain any victories by Russian or Belarusian athletes at the Olympics and elsewhere would be exploited for propaganda purposes by the Governments in Moscow and Minsk.

"We call on the Parliaments of all countries of the world to express their clear and strong opposition to any proposals, initiatives, projects or any other actions aimed at allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes and sports officials to participate in the Olympic Games or any other international competitions under a neutral flag," Viktoria Cmilyte-Nielsen, Speaker of the Lithuanian Parliament, said.

The Czech Senate has voted by 67 to 63 that the Czech Olympic Committee (ČOV) should not allow the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes at next year's Olympic Games in Paris.

The Senate wants the ČOV to co-operate with the IOC to help prevent the athletes’ participation.

The Senate, the Czech Republic's Upper House also wants to prevent athletes from Russia and Belarus "by all means" from taking part in qualifying rounds for Paris 2024 due to human rights violations and war crimes committed by those countries.

"It is unthinkable for a country that provoked a war to promote its regime through its athletes," said Senate vice-president Jiří Růžička.

The IOC, which currently is allowing athletes from the two countries to take part under neutral flags, has previously said that the sportspeople can compete because they themselves are not involved in aggression against Ukraine.

Senator David Smoljak called the IOC stance "embarrassing."

ČOV President Jiří Kejval claimed he is against Russian and Belarusian athletes participating, but that his organisation has no real impact since decision-making is up to IOC.

To find a solution to the issue, Kejval announced that he would form a group of legal experts to determine whether athletes from Russia and Belarus can justifiably be banned from taking part in the Olympics.

Ukraine has spearheaded a call to ban athletes from Russia and its close ally Belarus from Paris 2024 after the IOC in January announced at the end of last year it was open to including Russian and Belarusian athletes as neutrals.

In February, more than 30 countries including the United States, Britain and France pledged their support for a ban, which the Russia in turn called "unacceptable".

Earlier this week, African Olympic Committees passed a resolution supporting the participation of the athletes at the Paris 2024 Olympics as neutrals.
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Sunday, March 12, 2023
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