New York, 26 September 2003 - Secretary-General's remarks at a reception hosted by the Greek Mission to the United Nations on "Olympic Truce : Sport for Peace"Excellencies and dear friends,
I am very pleased to join so many friends, including the President of the General Assembly, Foreign Minister Papandreou, and all of you from the Olympic Movement, to mark the introduction of this session's item on “Building a better world through sport and the Olympic ideal”.
Since the ancient games were revived in Greece in 1896, the four-year cycle has only been interrupted twice – by the guns of world war.
The call to observe the Olympic Truce is an appeal for the Games to silence the guns – all over the world.
The Truce revives an ancient Greek tradition. It takes on added symbolic significance as the Games return to Greece – their ancient and modern home. It is a chance for warring parties to lay down their arms while athletes from the entire community of nations meet in noble contest.
But the Truce also has practical value. It gives parties in violent conflict a reason to pause, to provide relief to suffering populations, to reflect on the misery of war, and to open dialogue.
The Truce is as noble as the Games themselves. Support for the Truce has become part of the tradition of the United Nations.
I therefore hope that Member States will express their resolve that peaceful competition, unmarred by violent conflict anywhere, will mark the Games of the 28th Olympiad. And I pray that States everywhere will heed that call.
Thank you very much.
Statements on 26 September 2003