November 6 - International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach today reiterated the values of the Olympic Truce resolution during at speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City as concerns over discrimination continue to plague preparations for Sochi 2014.
Russia, which decriminalised homosexuality only in 1993, has come under heavy scrutiny since it adopted in June laws banning "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors", but Bach urged the 193-member UN congregation to use sport as a tool for peace building and the promotion of equality for all.
"The role of sport is always to build bridges, never walls," he said.
"Sport stands for dialogue and understanding which transcend all differences.
"Sport, and the Olympic Movement especially, understands the global diversity of cultures, societies and life designs as a source of richness.
"We never accuse or exclude anyone.
"Peace-building is a long process.
"Sport wants to be part of this process.
"However, we are aware of our own limits - but we want to use the power of our values and symbols to promote the positive, peaceful development of global society.
"These symbols, and especially the peaceful competition at the Olympic Games, should inspire all the people."
Bach also spoke of the need for sport to remain politically neutral, while calling on Governments to respect sports autonomy and insisted boycotts are wholly unacceptable.
"We oppose boycotts of any kind," said Bach, who had missed the 1980 Olympics after West Germany boycotted the Games because of the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan.
"Boycotts are a fundamental contradiction to the spirit of sport, depriving it of the means to continue working for peace, mutual understanding and solidarity.
"This is even more true if sport is the sole instrument misused for the boycott, while political, economic and cultural relations continue as normal."
Dmitry Chernyshenko, President and chief executive of Sochi 2014, presented a corresponding draft resolution, entitled "Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideals", and said that everyone is welcome to next year's Winter Games.
He also spoke of how the Olympics and Paralympics are helping to create "positive change" throughout his home nation and how "organisers of the Games in Sochi live by the principles of the Olympic Truce and share them with the world".
Last month, during a visit to Sochi, Russia's President Vladimir Putin promised Bach athletes and officials at Sochi 2014 will be welcome regardless of their race or sexual orientation.
UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon welcomed the adoption of the Olympic Truce, which calls for an end to fighting around the world from seven days before the Olympics and until seven days after the Paralympics end, ahead of Sochi 2014.
"The very strong support among Member States in sponsoring this resolution proves the power of sport to advance the cause of peace," he said.
"I urge all countries to transform the resolution into action by pressing for an end to all hostilities during the Olympic Games and by promoting the spirit of the Truce throughout the year."
The concept of the Olympic Truce dates back to the ninth century BC, in Ancient Greece, and was introduced to the modern Olympics in 1992 before being supported by the UN the following year.
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
October 2013: Everyone welcome at Sochi 2014 regardless of "ethnicity, race or sexual orientation" Putin promises Bach
October 2013: Canadian Olympic team urged to incorporate gay solidarity rainbow flags on Sochi 2014 kit
October 2013: New Zealand to appoint special diplomat to help with problems over anti-gay law at Sochi 2014
October 2013: USOC adds sexual orientation to non-discrimination policy ahead of Sochi 2014
September 2013: Athletes got to make their own minds up about Russian anti-gay law, says Black Power salute sprinter Smith