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|September 2, 2000||
Kofi Annan lauds Olympic ideals
"Together, the Olympics and the United Nations can be a winning team. But the contest will not be won easily," he said. "War, intolerance and deprivation continue to stalk the earth. We must fight back. Just as athletes strive for world records, so must we strive for world peace," Annan said.
"Olympic ideals are also United Nations ideals: tolerance, equality, fair play and, most of all, peace," he added.
Annan said it was a matter of great significance that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had revived the ancient Greek tradition of the Olympic truce, calling for all hostilities to cease during the Games.
"I join the United Nations General Assembly in urging all those at war to observe the Olympic truce," he said.
"This may sound unrealistic. But as any athlete will tell you, nothing happens without a dream."
Annan said the Olympic Games "display the very best of our common humanity."
"Coming together across virtually every line of race, ethnicity, language, religion, gender and national identity, the athletes -- on their own or as members of a team -- will scale new heights, set new records and give the world a lesson in international understanding. The Games are a true celebration of humanity," he said.
Annan will be represented at the opening of the Olympic Games in Sydney by his special representative in East Timor, Sergio Vieira de Mello, a U.N. spokesman said.
The United Nations flag will flown over the Olympiad in accordance with a practice started in 1996.
Following a request by Annan, the IOC has authorized several East Timorese athletes to compete in the Olympics as individuals under the U.N. flag, the spokesman said.
East Timor, which voted a year ago for independence from Indonesia, is now under temporary U.N. administration in preparation for independence.
Two U.N. representatives also will run in the Olympic torch relay in the lead-up to the opening of the Games, the spokesman added.
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