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General Assembly requests observance of 'Olympic Truce' during 2002 Games

General Assembly requests observance of 'Olympic Truce' during 2002 Games

Aiming to promote international understanding, peace and goodwill, the United Nations General Assembly today requested the observance of an Olympic Truce during next year's Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.

Adopting a resolution that had the sponsorship of over 150 countries, the Assembly sought to have the Truce, which stems from the ancient Greek tradition of ekecheiria, be observed during the XIX Olympic Winter Games from 8 to 24 February 2002, by ensuring the "safe passage and participation of athletes" at the competition.

The resolution also welcomed the decision of the International Olympic Committee to mobilize all international sports organizations to undertake concrete action to promote and strengthen a culture of peace based on the spirit of the Olympic Truce.

In another action today, the Assembly adopted a resolution outlining principles that should govern relationships between the UN and its partners. These included "bestowing no unfair advantages upon any partner…striving for balanced representation of relevant partners from developed and developing countries and countries with economies in transition, and not compromising the independence and neutrality of the United Nations."

On Monday, the Assembly adopted a series of resolutions on the recommendation of its Special Political and Decolonization (Fourth) Committee, including five texts relating to the work of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories. By one such resolution, the Assembly deplored any Israeli policies that violated rights and condemned the country's excessive use of force over the past year. Another resolution called for the accelerated release of all arbitrarily imprisoned Palestinians and demanded an end to measures taken in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, including the practice of extra-judicial killings.

By another text, the Assembly affirmed that the Geneva Convention relative to the protection of civilians during time of war is applicable to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967. The Assembly also adopted a resolution reaffirming that Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory and the occupied Syrian Golan are illegal. In a separate text, the Assembly called on Israel to desist from imposing Israeli citizenship and identity cards on the Syrian citizens in the occupied Syrian Golan and to desist from repressive measures against the local population.

Seven resolutions were adopted on the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), including one reiterating deep concern over the Agency's persisting critical financial situation and another reaffirming the right of all persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities to return to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967. An additional text called upon Israel to compensate the Agency for damages to its property and facilities resulting from actions by the Israeli side.