General Assembly resolution upholds the Olympic Truce for Paris 2024 without Russia

Paris 2024

The ancient Greek tradition of the ekecheiria, or Olympic Truce, was born in the eighth century BC and renewed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1992.

The resolution has also become a UN tradition, as it is considered every two years before the Summer and Winter Olympic Games.

The Olympic truce is an ancient Games tradition restored in Barcelona in 1992. It seeks to ensure the ceasefire of wars, allowing athletes and their families to participate in the Olympic and Paralympic Games. In Ancient Greece, it began seven days before the opening of the Games and ended on the seventh day after the end of the Games.

The call for an Olympic truce is usually a mere formality in the General Assembly that calls for the silencing of arms during the two weeks of the Games. However, never in recent decades has it coincided with two wars of an enormous global impact, such as those we're seeing in Ukraine and Gaza. The Gaza war, despite being at the centre of the concerns of the various UN agencies, the Security Council and the Secretary-General, was barely mentioned on Tuesday during the General Assembly debate, and only the representative of Egypt mentioned it, recalling that talk of an Olympic truce should be understood as a message to Israel to accept a truce without conditions.

However, the Ukraine conflict finally crept into Tuesday's debates when Russian representative Maria Zabolotskaya took the floor and warned that her country, having "always" supported the Olympic truce, would abstain this year in protest at "the illegal exclusion of Russian athletes from international sporting competitions". Zabolotskaya was referring to Russia's exclusion from the IOC on 5 October and banning its athletes from competing under the Russian flag in Paris 2024. However, this measure has some ambiguity as the IOC left the door open for the athletes to compete under a neutral banner.

On this occasion, Russia only had the express support of Syria at the time of the vote, while other countries allied with Russia, such as China in so many other conflicts, limited themselves to calling for the Olympic Games and sport, in general, to be politicized.

IOC President Thomas Bach took the floor before the General Assembly to respond to the Russian representative. "In the Olympic Games, there is no Global South and no Global North; we are all equal, and we must be politically neutral and reject any discrimination," Bach declared.

Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024