Ban helps kick off Olympics countdown

Last Updated: Sat, Feb 09, 2013 14:01 hrs

New York, Feb 9 (IBNS) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon helped to kick off the one-year countdown to next year's Winter Olympics in Sochi - the first Games to ever be hosted by the Russian Federation.

At a ceremony held at Russia's Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York City, Mr. Ban reflected on the long-standing nexus between Olympic values and the world body's own mission to promote peace through the Olympic Truce - a global call for the cessation of all conflicts during the Games.

"We have joined forces around the world to promote the ancient ideals of the Olympic Truce and support development, participation and education through sport," he stated.

"I trust that Russia, as the future steward of the Olympic Truce, will use the spirit of the Olympic Movement to build peaceful, inclusive communities - and promote responsible environmental stewardship."

The Olympic Truce has been promoted annually through a General Assembly resolution since 1993, and it was extended to the Paralympic Games for disabled athletes in 2006. The resolution for the 2012 Games in London was the first time that all 193 UN Member States co-sponsored it and passed it unanimously.

Mr. Ban also reminded those gathered that the Olympic Games were "an excellent opportunity" to "think globally and act locally" while promoting the benefits of youth participation and leadership to "inspire youth around the world."

The Winter Olympics will be held from 7 to 23 February 2014 in Sochi, situated along Russia's Black Sea coast.

According to the Sochi organizing committee, the lead-up to the event is being simultaneously tracked by countdown clocks in eight Russian cities - Moscow, St. Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Ekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Pyatigorsk and Khabarovsk.

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