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Putin: Sports should be focus of Sochi Olympics, not debate over gay rights

Friday, February 7, 2014
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Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte speak during their meeting in the Bocharov Ruchei residence in Sochi, Russia, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014.

Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service, RIA Novosti (AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte speak during their meeting in the Bocharov Ruchei residence in Sochi, Russia, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014.

SOCHI, Russia — Russian President Vladimir Putin says sports should take center stage during the Winter Olympics and not debate over gay rights.

A Russian law banning gay “propaganda” from reaching minors has drawn strong international criticism and calls for boycott of the Sochi Games from gay activists and others.

In a meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Friday ahead of the opening ceremony of the 2014 Games, Putin said the focus should now turn to the Olympics.

In a tweet from his official Twitter account, Rutte says he “Expressed the concerns of the Dutch government and populace about human rights and specific rights of LGBTs (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders) in Russia.”

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