IUN General Assembly approves Tuesday by an overwhelming majority (118 votes in favor and none against) the call for an Olympic truce for the 2024 Paris Games, but Russia and its ally Syria abstained in protest against Russia’s recent exclusion from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The Olympic Truce It is a tradition from the Ancient Games recovered in Barcelona 1992. It seeks to guarantee the end of wars, allowing athletes and their families to participate in the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The call for an Olympic truce is normally a mere procedure in the General Assembly that calls for the silencing of weapons during the two weeks that the Games last, but Never in recent decades have two wars of enormous global impact coincided, such as those in Ukraine and Gaza..
The war in Gaza, despite being at the center of the concerns of the different UN agencies, the Security Council and the Secretary-General, was barely mentioned this Tuesday during the General Assembly debate, and Only Egypt’s representative mentioned it, noting that talking about an Olympic truce should be understood as a message to Israel to accept a truce without nicknames..
However, the conflict in Ukraine finally entered the debates this Tuesday, when the Russian representative Maria Zabolotskaya took the floor and warned that his country, after having “always” supported the Olympic truce, would abstain this year in protest against “the illegal exclusion of Russian athletes from international sports competitions.”
By this, Zabolotskaya was referring to Russia’s exclusion from the IOC on October 5th – as a sanction for having annexed four regions of Ukraine – and the ban on its athletes competing under the Russian flag at Paris 2024, although the IOC left the door open for them to do so neutrally.
On this occasion, Russia only had the express support of Syria at the time of the vote, while other countries allied with Russia Like China in so many other conflicts, they limited themselves to asking for the depoliticization of the Olympic Games and sport in general.
The president of the IOC, Thomas Bachtook the floor before the General Assembly to respond to the Russian representative and say: “At the Olympic Games there is no Global South or Global North, we are all equal (and) we must be politically neutral and reject any discrimination”.
The World Friendship Games
He noted, however, that Moscow, by annexing regions of Ukraine, violated the integrity of the Ukrainian National Olympic Committee.
And Bach took advantage of the platform to warn against the Russian project to organize the World Friendship Games from September 15 to 29, 2024as an alternative to the Olympic Games in Paris, Moscow and Yekaterinburg, capital of the Urals.
Bach said this call means making sport part of political tensions, “leads to the political fragmentation of international sport” and means in the long term, that “there will be no more world championships in a fragmented world”.