On the eve of the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Sochi, I join the International Olympic Committee in calling on all those engaged in armed hostilities around the world to lay down their weapons and observe the Olympic Truce.
The participants in the Sochi Games may carry the flags of many nations, but they come together under the shared banner of equality, fair play, mutual respect and non-discrimination. I encourage all those involved in the games -- Governments, groups, organizations and individuals -- to uphold and defend these core Olympic ideals.
In calling for this year’s Truce, my thoughts are with the people of Syria, the Central African Republic, South Sudan and all others suffering from senseless violence, including the families who lost loved ones in the recent bombings that took place in Volgograd, not far from Sochi.
I call on all combatants everywhere to respect the Olympic Truce, which has been adopted by all 193 United Nations Member States. Overcoming conflict is a constant struggle – but we must persist in doing our utmost to win adherence to it.
The Olympic Truce is rooted in the hope that if people and nations can put aside their differences for one day, they can build on that to establish more lasting cease-fires and find paths towards durable peace, prosperity and human rights. For these next few weeks, may the torch of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Sochi remind us what is possible when nations unite.