January 24, 2006

Kofi Annan backs Olympic truce

By Mark Ledsom

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) - United Nations Secretary
General Kofi Annan has called on warring parties throughout the
world to observe the Olympic truce during next month's Winter
Games in Turin.

Speaking after a meeting with International Olympic
Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge at the organization's
headquarters in Lausanne, Annan said the truce offered a chance
for combatants to re-assess their motives.

"The period of the Olympic Games is obviously not long
enough for us to believe that we can use it to establish
lasting peace," Annan told reporters afterwards.

"It is however a chance for protagonists to look around,
see how they are destroying their communities and take the
chance to explore other options."

Introduced into the modern Olympics in 1991, the truce
calls for the suspension of fighting for the duration of the

The UN's General Assembly has already adopted seven
resolutions in support of the truce -- most recently in
November last year.

Rogge and Annan said they had also discussed ongoing
collaboration between the UN and IOC in the fields of
education, health care and the environment.

"Wherever UN agencies have offices, we can work with
national Olympic committees to ensure that sports is
incorporated more and more into the educational curriculum,"
Annan added.

Following his discussions with Rogge, Annan was later due
to meet FIFA president Sepp Blatter in Zurich.

Annan, Rogge and Blatter are also set to take part in a
seminar on the global impact of sport at the World Economic
Forum in Davos on Wednesday.