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UN chief calls for worldwide cessation of violence during Olympics

Europe
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New York (dpa) - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on Friday for a cessation of violence around the world during the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which are set to begin next week in Rio de Janeiro.

As violence continues to escalate in many parts of the world, Ban urged nations to observe the Olympic Truce saying that the Games should motivate countries and individuals to "reach beyond the limits of what was previously thought possible."

"I call for a push to match efforts to win medals on the playing fields with work to silence guns on the battlefields," Ban said.

"A respite in fighting would manifest the values that the Games seek to promote: respect, friendship, solidarity and equality."

The UN chief applauded the inclusion of a refugee team for the first time in the history of the Games, saying that it will "showcase the strengths of refugees while reminding the world that we must do more to tackle the root causes of their plight."

Ban called on people worldwide to lay down arms starting seven days before the Olympic Games begin next Friday, until the seventh day after the Paralympic Games, which end on September 18.

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