UN urges coun­tries to stop con­flicts dur­ing the Olympics

Yuma Sun - - DESSERT LIFE -

UNITED NA­TIONS — The U.N. Gen­eral Assem­bly ap­proved a res­o­lu­tion by ac­cla­ma­tion Mon­day urg­ing all coun­tries to stop hos­til­i­ties and ob­serve a truce dur­ing the up­com­ing Win­ter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea — a mes­sage es­pe­cially aimed at North Korea.

The res­o­lu­tion, adopted with a bang of the gavel by Assem­bly Pres­i­dent Miroslav La­j­cak to loud ap­plause, urges U.N. mem­ber states to ob­serve the truce from seven days be­fore the games be­gin on Feb. 9 un­til seven days af­ter the Par­a­lympic Win­ter Games end on March 18.

Thomas Bach, pres­i­dent of the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee, told the 193-mem­ber world body that with the res­o­lu­tion the Gen­eral Assem­bly is “cre­at­ing the con­di­tions for all ath­letes to com­pete in peace.”

“Only the U.N. mem­ber states can guar­an­tee the ath­letes the safe pas­sage to the Olympic Games,” he said. “They make it pos­si­ble for all the Olympic ath­letes to re­al­ize their dream of a life­time.”

Lee Hee Beom, pres­i­dent of the South Korean or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee, said the res­o­lu­tion sig­ni­fies the Gen­eral Assem­bly’s “strong wish that Pyeongchang will pro­vide the win­dow of op­por­tu­nity to foster an en­vi­ron­ment con­ducive to build­ing and sus­tain­ing peace on the Korean peninsula, and in north­east Asia.”

He re­called the 2000 Sum­mer Olympics in Syd­ney, Aus­tralia, where del­e­ga­tions from both Koreas walked into the open­ing cer­e­mony “march­ing to­gether, hand in hand un­der the same flag.” It sim­ply said “Korea.”

“We hope our joint ac­tion to­day will lead to a chain re­ac­tion for the pro­mo­tion of peace within the re­gion and be­yond,” Lee added. “To­gether we are more pow­er­ful than any of us work­ing alone.”

South Korean Olympic gold medal­ist Yuna Kim, who is a good­will am­bas­sador for the Win­ter Games, ex­pressed hope that the com­pe­ti­tion “will spread the mes­sage of peace through one of the few lan­guages that has the power to unite peo­ple around the world — the grace­ful and univer­sal lan­guage of sport.”

“In­deed, Pyeongchang rep­re­sents per­haps the most sin­cere ef­forts to cross frozen bor­ders be­tween South and North Korea and foster a peace­ful en­vi­ron­ment,” she said.

The res­o­lu­tion re­calls the an­cient Greek tra­di­tion of “ekecheiria,” which called for a ces­sa­tion of hos­til­i­ties to en­cour­age a peace­ful en­vi­ron­ment, en­sure safe pas­sage and par­tic­i­pa­tion of ath­letes in the an­cient Olympics.

The Gen­eral Assem­bly re­vived the tra­di­tion in 1993 and has adopted res­o­lu­tions be­fore all Olympics since then, but mem­ber states in­volved in con­flicts have of­ten ig­nored the call for a truce.



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