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  Monday, February 17, 2020
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Planned facilities for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics including a bobsleigh
Planned facilities for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics including a bobsleigh track through a nature reserve will not be relocated despite protests from environmental groups, the natural resources minister said on Tuesday.

"We'll solve this issue without relocating facilities," Yury Trutnev said.

Environmental groups have said the planned bobsleigh road with related infrastructure in the Caucasus State Natural Reserve is one of the most damaging Olympic projects, along with a mountain Olympic village and a rail line in the region, classified by UNESCO as the only mountainous area in Europe that remains virtually undamaged by humans.

Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund and other groups had requested the facilities be moved.

UNESCO representatives and officials from the Russian Natural Resources Ministry began last Sunday a five-day visit to Sochi to assess the potential environmental impact of constructing Olympic facilities.

A coordinating commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) started on Tuesday a two-day conference to discuss arrangements for the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov assured IOC officials that Russia had so far honored all commitments to the organization.

"All pledges we have given to the International Olympic Committee are being implemented on schedule," Zhukov said.

Dmitry Chernyshenko, president of the organizing committee for the 2014 Games, announced on Monday that a Sochi 2014 unified information center will be opened on April 23.

A community liaison office will work at the center, enabling Sochi residents to contact high-ranking officials.


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