United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on all warring parties in the world to “silence the guns” during the Olympic Games, which will begin on August 6 in Rio de Janeiro.
“I call on the world to observe the Olympic Truce by ceasing all hostilities during the Olympic and Paralympic Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro,” he said on Friday.
Ban acknowledged that “such an ambitious goal might seem unattainable” but challenged the world to make it possible.
“I call on the warring parties to devote as much effort to silence the weapons on the battlefield as the athletes have to devote to winning medals,” he said.
Ban called attention to the International Olympic Committee’s unprecedented decision to allow a team of refugees from war-torn nations to participate in the Games under an Olympic banner for the first time in history.
Ban also invoked the memory of Olympic boxer Muhammad Ali, an American activist and professional boxer who died in June. Citing Ali as an example, Ban called on warring parties to observe a truce from seven days before the summer Olympic Games to seven days after the summer Paralympic Games.
“May the serenity of the Olympic flame stop the noise of the arms,” he concluded.
The upcoming sports competition in Brazil has been plagued by bad press over problems ranging from the Sika virus to fallout from a Russian doping scandal to uninhabitable quarters in the Olympic Village.
Switzerland will be represented by 107 athletes at the Olympic Games in Rio. A further 22 athletes have been nominated for the Paralympic Games, beginning on September 7.
swissinfo.ch and agencies