Former Byelorussian parliamentary speaker denies being member of banned sect

Minsk, Belarus - Former Byelorussian Parliamentary Speaker Stanislav Shushkevich has said that he has nothing to do with the Church of Unification of Sun Myung Moon, but that he does agree with some of its principles.

"As for the church established by Moon, I have never had anything to do with it. But I find the principles that it professes and that I know of attractive," he told Interfax on Monday.

On Sunday, Byelorussian Channel 1 claimed that Shushkevich and his wife have been advocates of the church for years, which Byelorussia has recognized to be a destructive sect and is banned.

Reporters said that Shushkevich is in constant contact with the head of the sect living, that he regularly visits him and promotes the spread of Moon's teaching in Byelorussia.

"It is true that I have met Sun Myung Moon, but in relation to his active secular life, not along religious lines," Shushkevich said referring to the report.

He said that he has attended conferences on the reunification of Korea almost annually since 1992. "San Myung Moon is a sponsor of the conference along with the government, parliament and prominent companies of South Korea," he said.

"Sometimes I also use invitations to the conferences for working for Korean universities," Shushkevich added noting that he is an honored citizen of two Korean cities and is a professor emeritus of two Korean universities.