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  • Olympic Truce Wins Near-Unanimous Support at U.N.


    10/31/07

    The IOC president at the U.N.: “Sport alone cannot enforce or maintain peace. But it has a vital role to play in building a better and more peaceful world.” (ATR)  
    (ATR) Delegates at the United Nations have adopted the so-called Olympic Truce resolution for the Beijing Olympics following a parade of speeches in support.

    So far, 187 U.N. member nations are signatories to the resolution. The remaining five are expected to sign soon.

    Beijing Olympics President Liu Qi presented the truce resolution to a barely-filled General Assembly Hall. The numbers of delegates grew as the speeches in support progressed throughout the morning.

    IOC member Nawal El Moutawakel spoke to the assembly in her capacity as the new minister for youth and sport in Morocco. Like many of the delegate remarks, Moutawakel stressed the power of sport at home as a way to avoid troubled lives for young people.

    IOC President Jacques Rogge had his turn at the green marble rostrum nearly two hours after the debate on the resolution began.

    “In a world too often torn apart by war, environmental degradation, poverty and disease, we see sport as a calling to serve humanity,” he said.

    “That is why this resolution is so important.”

    Rogge praised the cooperation between the U.N. and the IOC that has resulted in sports programs for developing countries. He also said U.N. support is also
    IOC member and Morocco minister for youth and sport Nawal El Moutawakel speaks to the General Assembly. (ATR)  
    important in the fight against doping in sport.

    Rogge said the coming of the Beijing Olympics has been a major plus for the Chinese people.

    “In China, the Beijing 2008 Summer Games have already delivered important social, legislative and economic benefits. It is better to open a new door to China than to leave it closed at this point in its modern evolution,” he said.

    As Rogge spoke, a half-dozen protestors
    A handful of protestors across the street from the U.N. (ATR)  
    shouted out “China lies, people die” across the street from the U.N. The protestors -- opponents of China’s control over Tibet -- held a banner calling for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics.

    Tibet was not mentioned in the Olympic Truce comments nor some thorny issues that directly involve the Olympics, such as a unified team for the Koreas, the kidnappings and violence against athletes and Olympic leaders in Iraq or conflict between China and Taipei that led to cancellation of a torch relay stop on the island.

    A total of 18 member nations spoke. That’s a record number since the truce resolutions started appearing at the U.N. in 1993, says IOC international cooperation chief Thomas Sithole.

    Speaking on behalf of the U.S. was George Pataki. The former governor of New York was in office during the time of the New York City bid for 2012. He’s a member of the U.S. delegation to the U.N.

    Other IOC members in New York for the U.N. event were U.S. members Anita DeFrantz and Jim Easton, Richard Carrion of Puerto Rico and Gerhard Heiberg of Norway.

    IOC communications chief Giselle Davies, IOC chief of staff Christophe de Kepper and Robert Fasulo, international relations director for the U.S. Olympic Committee, also were part of the official delegation.

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