IOC CALLS FOR UNDERSTANDING IN THE BALKANS
Skopje, 28 March 2001 - Balkan Olympic Officials Urge World Leaders to Never Forget the Value of Peace Among Nations -
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) supported the statement by the Balkan National Olympic Committees in which the NOCs pledged to intensify their efforts to develop both cooperation and peaceful competition among nations at a roundtable today in Skopje.
Participating in the roundtable following a meeting with the President of the Former Yougoslav Republic of Macedonia, the IOC President said, “This roundtable has taken place during a time when the Balkan region needs peace, friendship, and understanding.
“There have been many calls for unified discussions among the peoples of this troubled region. Today, the Olympic Movement has brought together representatives of the Balkan NOCs to strengthen the peaceful bond among people that sport develops.”
The Olympism and Peace roundtable was organized by the Olympic Committee of the Former Yougoslav Republic of Macedonia in conjunction with the Association of the Balkan National Olympic Committees (ABNOC) and the International Olympic Truce Center.
Present today were NOC representatives from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, the Former Yougoslav Republic of Macedonia, Romania, and Yugoslavia. Representatives from the Turkish and Moldavian NOCs were unable to attend. Mr. Turpurkokvski, president of the Olympic Committee of the Former Yougoslav Republic of Macedonia, chaired the session.
In addition to the representatives of the Balkan NOCs, other roundtable participants included: Mr. George Papandreou, the Greek minister for foreign affairs, the IOC President, Dr. Jacques Rogge, president of the European NOCs, Mr. Pere Miro, director of Olympic Solidarity which is funding several Balkan sports activities, and other dignitaries from the region.
In a previous vote, the Balkan NOCs unanimously named the IOC President as Honorary President for Life of ABNOC in recognition of the IOC’s efforts for peace in the region dating back nearly ten years.
The text of the statement issued by the roundtable follows:
Olympism and Peace
Peace is indispensable to general human progress. In a peaceful environment, there are realistic conditions for creative competition, for the beauty of art, for the significance of science, and for boundless sports achievements.
To the Olympic Movement, peace has always been about tolerance among human beings, celebration of diverse cultures, cooperation among nations, and real chances for the young generation.
Gathered in Skopje on the occasion of the Olympic Peace Festivities, the International Olympic Movement, the distinguished leaders thereof, and the Association of the Balkan Olympic Committees, reaffirming the essential connection between peace and Olympism, encourage humanity and world leaders to never forget the value of peace among nations.
Faced with the continuous instability of the Balkans, they pledge to intensify their Olympic model of cooperation and competition among nations, instead of conflict and war.
Proud to be Balkans, the representatives of the Balkan National Olympic Committees will never cease to labor for peace and understanding among the nations of this unique peninsula.
Skopje, 28 March 2001