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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 September, 2003, 03:34 GMT 04:34 UK
Greece proposes Olympic truce
Statue of Hercules
Hercules, founder of the Olympic Games might be glad of a truce

Greece has made a stand for world peace at the United Nations General Assembly, by calling for a revival of the Olympic truce during next year's games in Athens.

The 16-day ceasefire mirrors the age old tradition once kept in ancient Greece when a truce - or ekecheiria - meant athletes and spectators could enjoy the Olympics without fear.

In introducing the resolution, the Greek foreign minister said it would create "a vital window of opportunity for the peaceful solution of conflicts".

The non-binding resolution is expected to be adopted by the UN in November.

'Peace forever?'

Greece appealed for co-sponsors to the proposals, which would call for a truce from 13-29 August when the games are held in the Greek capital.

"If we could have peace for 16 days, maybe, just maybe, that we can have it forever," said Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou in his address at the 58th session of the UN General Assembly on Friday.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan
Truce would allow pause for thought, says Annan

The ancient peace tradition was revived in 1992, when the International Olympic Committee launched an appeal for the observance of the Olympic truce.

At that time it helped allow athletes from the former Yugoslav republics to join the1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.

"The call to observe the Olympic truce is an appeal for the Games to silence the guns - all over the world," said UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

"It gives parties in violent conflict a reason to pause, to provide relief to suffering populations, to reflect on the misery of war, and to open dialogue."

a Mr Papandreou said the truce - a United Nations tradition since 1993 - would be the key component of the resolution entitled Building A Peaceful And Better World Through Sport And The Olympic Ideal.


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