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Afghan president heads to Sochi

February 7, 2014

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan President Hamid Karzai is travelling to Russia to attend Friday’s opening ceremony of the Winter Games in Sochi.

The Afghan presidential palace said in a statement Friday that Karzai and his high-level delegation were invited by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It added that Karzai will meet with Putin, China’s president and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon while he is in Russia.

Karzai’s trip is expected to last one day.

Some prominent leaders — including U.S. President Barack Obama — are staying away from Sochi, upset at a law that Putin championed barring homosexual “propaganda” aimed at minors that has been used to more widely discriminate against gays.

But organizers say some 66 leaders — including heads of state and international organizations — are joining the games.

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