News — January 01, 2000
Terror Plays a Role in Peace Award
The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to U.N. agencies and people connected to it, but never to the world body itself. The U.N. war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands, was also a contender. ? Geir Lundestad, th
The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to U.N. agencies and people connected to it, but never to the world body itself. The U.N. war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands, was also a contender. ? Geir Lundestad, the committee's secretary, noted the winner was picked September 28—17 days after the terror attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and almost a week into the U.S. military response. He said the committee was very aware of that horrific event. ? Secretary General Annan has responded to the attacks by encouraging an international campaign under the U.N. umbrella to defeat terrorism. ? Lundestad said the award could be interpreted as a tribute to the United Nations as the most powerful and efficient instrument in combating conflicts and also as encouragement to its secretary general in his efforts to lead more efficient operations: “They would have been relevant candidates no matter what, but the recent events make them more relevant.” ? For centennial celebrations leading up to the December 10 Awards Ceremony, 34 past laureates are expected in Oslo. Similar celebrations are planned in Stockholm, Sweden, where the other Nobel Prizes will be awarded. ? The prizes were created by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel in his will and are always presented on the anniversary of his death in 1896. The first Nobel Peace Prize, in 1901, honored Jean Henry Dunant, the Swiss founder of the Red Cross. World Tributes to Annan World leaders hailed the United Nations and its Secretary General Kofi Annan as worthy winners of the Nobel Peace Prize. Tributes rolled in from several trouble spots where Annan, 63, has brought his influence and diplomatic skills to bear. In the Middle East, where Annan is one of the few U.N. officials to win Israeli as well as Palestinian acceptance as a man of good will, both communities endorsed the award. Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres praised Annan as a man with a humanitarian approach who really worries about the poor of the world and is changing the face of the U.N. Lebanese President Emile Lahoud thanked Annan for the role he and the United Nations had played in Israel’s withdrawal from south Lebanon last year. Portugal, the former colonial power in East Timor, lauded the efforts of Annan and the United Nations in bringing independence to the tiny East Asian territory: “Truly, he was a key man so that the United Nations could play a different, constructive part in placing Timor on the road to independence,” Portuguese Foreign Minister Jaime Gama said. Nobel laureate and former South African President F.W. de Klerk praised Annan’s? positive and constructive role in promoting peaceful solutions to conflicts around the world. Lavish Praise from Europe In Europe, leaders were lavish in their praise. “Today's announcement is marvelous news and richly deserved. No one and no organization is more deserving,” proclaimed British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Blair said the award is an important signal as the West tries to bring to justice to “those who struck at the heart of the free world just blocks from the U.N. headquarters,” referring to the September 11 attacks against America. French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin hailed the award as a just recognition of Annan and of the United Nations as an institution needed more than ever in a troubled world: “Via Kofi Annan and the United Nations, this Nobel Peace Prize lends remarkable support to all those who struggle for a world of peace, solidarity and justice.” Words of approval also came from Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel, Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. Schroeder told reporters: “If anyone has earned this award, taking into account his uncommon political achievement also in the present situation, then it is Kofi Annan.” U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers praised the honoring of “a fabulous man.” Annan is the fifth African to win the Nobel Peace Prize.