New York

03 November 2003

Secretary-General's press encounter on Olympic Truce

Q: In terms of the realities of what we are living in today, the practical appliance of the truce, because of what we are seeing in Iraq, the conflict between Israel and Palestine -- what sort of impact could it have this time vis a vis the previous resolutions, in your opinion?

SG: I think it sends a powerful message, telling the warring parties to stop and reflect, give a chance –even if it is for 24 hours. We hope that in that 24 hours, people will think about war, they will think about peace, they will think about what the Olympics means and what happened in Athens, and hopefully some of them will stop, not just for 24 hours, but for a much longer period. And even if they don't, they will begin to think, maybe we have peace and quiet for 24 hours –why limit it to 24 hours?

I hope that people in all conflict areas –from Iraq to Afghanistan to Liberia to the Congo –will really listen to the message. But it is not just those who are actually fighting. The populations should also work to make demands that they want peace, and that the fighting must stop.