Russian conductor Pletnev arrives in Macedonia

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Russian conductor Mikhail Pletnev, who left Thailand after being charged with raping a 14-year-old boy there, arrived Friday at Macedonia's lake resort Ohrid for the opening of a music festival.

Pletnev, who arrived along with members of the Russian National Orchestra (RNO) aboard a charter flight from Moscow, refused to comment on the charges, Macedonia's MIA news agency reported.

"Right now we have no time for scandals, those are minor things, the concert is what is important at this moment," Pletnev told reporters.

He and the orchestra will perform at the opening ceremony of the summer music festival on Monday in the southwestern town of Ohrid.

The artistic director of the RNO has been allowed by a Thai court to travel overseas after posting extra bail, but required to report back to the court every 12 days.

On Thursday in Moscow Pletnev denied the charges, saying he could not imagine himself in the role of a rapist and he was against all forms of violence "especially when it concerns children."

© 2010 AFP

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