As the XXI Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver draw near, the United Nations and the Olympic Movement are once again calling for a worldwide cessation of hostilities for the duration of the Games.
The Olympic Truce brings hope of at least a temporary respite from violence and armed conflict. It also draws attention to a terrible paradox. At the Olympics and throughout the year, we rightly honour the outstanding achievements of the human body and the positive social values of competitive sport, including team spirit and fairness. Yet all too often, through the carnage of war, we do terrible damage to that same human body, and to our shared values.
Peace and stability are essential for people to reach their true potential. The Olympic Truce is based on that yearning, and on ideals shared by the UN and the Olympic movement alike: global friendship, harmony, non-violence and non-discrimination.
I therefore join the United Nations General Assembly, the International Olympic Committee and the Olympic Movement in urging warring parties all over the world to lay down their weapons during the XXI Olympic Winter Games. Let us start with the Olympic Truce, and continue even after the games are played and the medals awarded.