May 18, 2021

Statement by the Permanent Representative of Cyprus Ambassador Sotos Zackheos to the General Assembly on Agenda Item 35 “Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal

Mr. President,

I would like, at the outset, to express the satisfaction of my delegation at the great number of countries that co-sponsored the present resolution. This is a clear message of the importance that the international community places on the Olympic ideal.

The great challenge now is to take the first practical steps towards turning into reality the observance of the Olympic Truce. 

The Olympic Truce is an expression of the yearning of mankind for peace, understanding, reconciliation and for the noble notion of distinction, based on honest competition. In the search for excellence every athlete is equal; and victory is the result of ability, training, hard work and perseverance. Discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, sex or otherwise, is incompatible with the Olympic spirit.

It is important to strengthen adherence to the Olympic ethics, especially the need to conduct the Games in a fair way. In this context, the efforts against the use of prohibited anabolic and other drugs are to be commended.

Cyprus, a small country, has followed since its independence an active foreign policy based on the principles of International Law and the Charter of the United Nations, which coincide and fully adhere with the Olympic ideal.

It is now ever more imperative that the spirit of freedom and tolerance, as exemplified by the very essence of the Olympic ideal, be greatly disseminated through the Planet. For in these turbulent times, following the abhorrent terrorist acts of September 11, humanity should look to the idea of the Olympic Spirit and the Olympic Truce as an alternative to war, destruction and the assault on civilization, which is the goal of terrorism.

The latest manifestation of our determination to become a bridge of peace in our sensitive region in the Eastern Mediterranean and a homeland of harmony and understanding for all communities living on the island, is the proposal of President Clerides, for the demilitarization of Cyprus. We renew, on this solemn occasion, our appeal for the acceptance of this proposal, and we express our hope for a just and lasting settlement, on the basis of U.N. resolutions, so that Cyprus may be able to participate in the next Olympics as a reunited and peaceful State, with a team that will include the best Cypriot athletes, irrespective of their background.

Mr. President,

The people of Cyprus felt immense satisfaction with the decision of the International Olympic Committee, concerning the hosting of the Olympic Games of 2004 in Greece, the birthplace of the Olympic Movement and we are particularly pleased at the quick pace of preparations for their realization. We look forward to a successful Athens 2004 and are certain that the Olympic Ideal will find its fulfillment and open a new chapter in the history of the Olympic Movement. I would like in conclusion, to express our appreciation for the great efforts of the International Olympic Committee in imbuing the youth with these ideals, which is the guarantee of a better and more humane world.

Thank you, Mr. President.