World leaders plead with Putin

In an open letter to the Russian president, leaders called on him to endorse a resolution on Syria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - An international group of 48 former government ministers, philanthropists and activists appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to help the people of Syria.

In an open letter to the president, officials called on Putin to support a United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution for humanitarian aid to war-torn country.

"If the Olympic Games showcase the best of humanity, Syria showcases the worst," the letter read referring to the Winter Olympics being held in Sochi, Russia.

Former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson were some of the prominent people who signed the letter.

The document calls on Putin to support the resolution allowing humanitarian access to Syria.

They say as Putin welcomes the world to Sochi, he has a chance to prove that the most ambitious Olympics will be used to secure a political legacy.

Putin was urged to inspire Sochi's athletes with true "Olympic leadership".