/ 29 July 2008

UN calls for Olympic truce

The United Nations General Assembly and UN chief Ban Ki-Moon on Monday called for a truce in hostilities around the world during the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Assembly president Srgjan Kerim made an appeal to member states to observe an Olympic truce, following an ancient Greek tradition dating back to the eighth century BC.

Ban, meanwhile, said a truce would provide ”a pause in which to reconsider the heavy cost of war; an opening to initiate dialogue; and a window to provide relief for suffering populations”.

The Olympic Games are scheduled to take place from August 8 to 24 and the Paralympic Games from September 6 to 17.

Last October, the General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution calling on member states to observe a truce during the Games in Beijing and help build ”a peaceful and better world through sport”.

The resolution urged all member states to cooperate with the International Olympic Committee ”in its efforts to use sport as an instrument to promote peace, dialogue and reconciliation in areas of conflict during and beyond the Olympic Games period”.

Ban said on Monday that the ideals of the Olympic movement underpinned those of the United Nations Charter and that the truce, though temporary, had ”unlimited potential”.

”It can demonstrate to the world that peace is possible in even the most seemingly intractable situations if we truly work towards it, he said.” — Sapa-AFP