United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will travel to Russia later this week to take part in the opening of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, his spokesperson announced on Monday.
Ban will depart New York on Tuesday for the Games, which will be held from 7 to 23 February in Sochi, situated along Russia's Black Sea coast. The Games are the first to be hosted by the Russian Federation.
While in Sochi, the Secretary-General will hold bilateral meetings with world leaders also attending the Games, his spokesperson said. He is expected to return to New York on Saturday.
Ahead of the Sochi Games, Ban called for the observance of the Olympic Truce, calling on everyone engaged in armed hostilities to lay down their weapons and cease hostilities during the period of the competitions.
The symbolic Truce starts one week before the Sochi Winter Games and will run until a week after the closing of the XI Paralympic Winter Games, to be held 7 to 16 March.
The ancient Greek tradition of the ekecheiria, or Olympic Truce, was born in the eighth century BC "to encourage a peaceful environment and ensure safe passage, access and participation for athletes and relevant persons at the Games, thereby mobilizing the youth of the world to the cause of peace."
This will be the second time that Ban is participating in the opening of the Olympic Games. In July 2012, he donned a white tracksuit and took part in the traditional torch run ahead of the Summer Olympic Games in London as well as in the opening ceremony.