The UN General Assembly on Tuesday called on all countries in the world to respect the traditional “Olympic truce” on the occasion of the Paris Games next summer, a symbolic resolution criticized by Russia denouncing “political interference” in the sport. The resolution adopted by 118 votes in favor, none against and two abstentions (Russia and Syria), calls on member states to “observe the Olympic truce individually and collectively” from the seventh day before the start of the Paris Olympics (July 26 to 11 August 2024) and until the seventh day after the end of the Paralympic Games (August 28 to September 8). The text prepared by France also underlines “the importance of cooperation between Member States to apply the values of the Olympic Truce throughout the world”.
“I do not remember a world facing so many confrontations, divisions, polarization,” commented the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach at the UN, calling for “sending a unequivocal message to the world: yes, we can come together even in times of wars and crises. “The Games have an extremely inspiring value as an example because they show what we have in common rather than what divides us,” added Tony Estanguet, head of the organizing committee for the Paris Olympics.
Inspired by the ancient Greek tradition of “ekecheiria” which required the cessation of all hostility during the ancient Olympic Games, this “truce” was reintroduced by the UN in 1993, following an initiative by the IOC. Generally adopted by consensus every two years before the Winter and Summer Games, it is not always respected. Thus, the IOC considers Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 as a violation of the Olympic truce linked to the 2022 Beijing Olympics and has therefore recommended that international federations ban their competitions from Russian soil and prohibit all Russian official symbol - anthem or flag. But he has not yet decided on the Games.
Russia has denounced what it considers “discrimination”, as did the resolution adopted on Tuesday. “There is a dangerous tendency towards political interference in sport and using it as an instrument of political pressure,” said Russian Deputy Ambassador to the UN Maria Zabolotskaya, calling the limitation on participation of Russian athletes in the international competitions of “summit of hypocrisy and cynicism”.