UN chief to attend opening of Sochi Olympics

United Nations, Feb 4: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to attend the opening of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, Friday, a UN spokesman told reporters here Monday.

“The secretary-general will depart New York Tuesday evening for a visit to Sochi in Russia,” Xinhua quoted UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky as saying at a daily news briefing here. He added that Ban is expected to hold bilateral meetings with leaders present at the opening.

“On Friday, 7 February, he will take part in the opening of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games,” Nesirky said. “The secretary general will hold bilateral meetings with world leaders who will, like him, be attending the Games in Sochi.”

During his stay in Sochi, Ban will address, for the first time, the assembly of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The spokesperson cited “the growing relationship between the UN and the IOC as one of the reasons that the secretary general would go to Sochi and speak to the IOC members”.

Ban plans to return to New York Saturday.

The 2014 Olympic Winter Games is due to take place in Sochi Feb 7-23, and the XI Paralympic Winter Games is to be held in the same venue March 7-16.