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No gun imports allowed for Games

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SYDNEY, Australia — Australia's foreign affairs minister rejected reports that the United States and Israel applied for exemptions to firearm laws for the Sydney Olympics.

Alexander Downer said Thursday that no country has applied for an exemption and that no foreign security agent will be permitted to import a weapon for any reason.

"As a matter of policy we don't allow foreign security forces to bring arms into Australia," Downer told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio. "And we have said we will apply that policy in relation to the Olympic Games."

Downer said Attorney General Daryl Williams will re-emphasize to Olympic officials that Australian police and security authorities are capable of handling the protection of athletes and officials during the Sydney Games.

"We have in this country very sophisticated law enforcement agencies. We can handle it ourselves," he said.

New South Wales state police Commissioner Peter Ryan, who has overall control of Sydney 2000 Olympic security, said the Dignitary and Athlete Protection Unit will assume responsibility for the protection of all teams and visitors.

Ryan said he would conduct a series of briefings next week to outline security arrangements to representatives of at least 32 of the 200 nations contesting the Games.

Eleven Israeli athletes were killed by Palestinian terrorists during the 1972 Munich Games.

Utah Public Safety Commissioner Craig Dearden, who heads security for the 2002 Winter Games, would prefer foreign security agents not bring their guns to the Salt Lake City Games. However, he said that if the federal government allows them to bring their weapons into the country, they would be allowed to have them at the Games.