The Olympic flame has arrived in Switzerland, home of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), en route from Athens to Brazil where the 2016 Games will be staged.
The torch was greeted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the seat of the UN in Geneva, the Palais des Nations. IOC President Thomas Bach and Prince Albert of Monaco were also there to receive the flame.
The flame represents a “beacon of solidarity with all the people of the world,” said Ban Ki-moon at a ceremony to mark the event. He also paid tribute to a first-ever team of refugees who will compete at the Rio 2016 Games.
“For the first time, talented athletes who have been forced to flee their homes will get the chance to chase gold,” Ban said. “I will be cheering for them.”
The flame traveled later on Friday by boat to the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, home of the IOC. An eight-man rowing crew delivered the flame to Rio organising committee chief Carlos Nuzman, who lit a cauldron outside the museum on the banks of Lake Geneva.
It will stay there for the weekend before resuming its travels to Brazil on Monday. The Rio 2016 Olympic Games will start on August 5.
Ban and other officials received the flame following speeches and a ceremony at the UN headquarters.
swissinfo.ch with agencies