U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on all warring parties to observe the traditional Olympic truce during the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games in Japan, and to pursue cease-fires and lasting peace after the competitions end.
The U.N. chief said in a video message Thursday that athletes from around the world have had to overcome "enormous obstacles" to participate in the games in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We need to show the same strength and solidarity in our efforts to bring peace to our world," he said.
"Seeking peace and uniting around common goals is even more important this year," Guterres said, "as we strive to end the pandemic and build a strong, sustainable and inclusive global recovery."
The Olympic truce began in ancient Greece to allow free passage of athletes and spectators from often-warring city-states to the original games every four years. But even that tradition was broken when the Greek city of Elis attacked the neighboring town of Pisa while it was hosting the Festival of Zeus and the Olympic Games.
This summer's Olympic Games will be held from July 23 to Aug. 8, followed by the Paralympic Games from Aug. 24 to Sept. 5.
Guterres recalled "the traditional call to silence the guns while the games proceed," and expressed hope that it can lead to an end to conflicts.