ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- British Prime Minister Tony Blair signed the Olympic Truce at the birthplace of the games Saturday, even as his troops in Iraq were breaking with the spirit of the document that calls for a halt in worldwide conflict during the competition.
Organizers of the truce -- inspired by the cease-fire between warring city-states during the ancient games at Olympia -- say more than 450 world leaders and international personalities have signed the initiative.
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Saturday, 20 prime ministers, heads of state and members of royal families signed the document, including Blair, Spain's Queen Sofia and Prince Albert of Monaco.
Organizers said former President Bush, who is leading the official U.S. delegation to the games, was invited but declined to attend.
German President Horst Kohler also signed the pledge. Germany and France were strong opponents of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
The signatories added their names to a list that included Pope John Paul II, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Anan and former President Clinton.
The 16-day truce, however, is clearly not being observed by Washington, which has troops that have been fighting major fronts in Afghanistan and Iraq since shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Asked why U.S. forces were not observing an Olympic cease-fire, Secretary of State Colin Powell told reporters Friday that while the idea was a noble one: "The world does not stop entirely for the Olympics."