Last updated at 11:46 BST, Thursday, 20 October 2011

Britain to ask UN for Olympic Truce


17 October 2011

As the host of the next Olympics, Britain will introduce in the United Nations a resolution calling for warring parties around the world to observe a truce during the Games. That's an ancient tradition established in the 9th century BC and revived in recent decades although one that remains largely symbolic.

Barbara Plett

Rehearsal for Lighting Ceremony of the Olympic Flame in Olympia,Greece

Will wars stop for the Olympics?


Click to hear the report:


The Olympic Truce gave those participating in the ancient Greek games safe passage, and a peaceful environment in which to compete.

The tradition was revived in the early 1990s through UN resolutions. In practice this has had limited impact: you may recall that the Georgia war erupted on the eve of the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Nevertheless British diplomats want at least a show of world peace. They're trying to get all UN member states to co-sponsor their resolution.

They've been soliciting support by fax and email from countries that don't have a UN mission, and on the spot from some ambassadors at diplomatic parties.

But they're still short two signatures: Syria and Iran.

As for peace during the Games, it seems unlikely that war in Afghanistan will stop. And when it comes to Libya, diplomats say they hope that conflict will have ended by the time the Olympics begin.

Barbara Plett, BBC News


Click to hear the vocabulary:


safe passage

permission to cross war zones free from harm


brought back

limited impact

small influence






in spite of what has been said

to co-sponsor

to support jointly


asking for

on the spot


they're still short

they're still lacking

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