Middle East

Putin urged to push 'Olympic truce' in Syria

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) and International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach (L) attend a reception before the 2014 Winter Olympic Games opening ceremony in Sochi, February 7, 2014. REUTERS/Alexei Nikolsky

PARIS: Global political, business and human rights leaders on Friday urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to use the Sochi Winter Olympics to push for peace in Syria.

In an open letter published in several newspapers, some 50 leading figures urged Russia to use its influence in Syria to push for an "Olympic truce" in the country's conflict.

"If the Olympic Games showcases the best of humanity, Syria showcases the worst. The most expensive Games in history will take place so close to the worst humanitarian crisis of our times," said the letter, published in Le Monde, The Financial Times and Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta.

It was signed by former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright, Virgin group founder Richard Branson, musician Peter Gabriel and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The letter also called on Russia to lead efforts in the UN Security Council to ensure local ceasefires and the delivery of humanitarian supplies. It also urged continued Russian support for peace efforts to resolve the conflict.





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