Mandela Foundation welcomes peace prize winner

Friday, October 9, 2009

Pretoria - The Nelson Mandela Foundation has welcomed the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to United States President Barack Obama.

"We trust that this award will strengthen his commitment, as the leader of the most powerful nation in the world, to continue promoting peace and the eradication of poverty," the foundation said in a statement.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee announced on its website that Obama was honoured for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."

The first African American to hold the country's highest office, Obama has called for disarmament and work to restart the stalled Middle East peace process since taking office in January.

The committee praised Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between nations.

"Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future," the committee said in a statement.

"His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population."

The committee further said it attached special importance to Obama's vision for a world without nuclear weapons.

"Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play."

The President is expected to make an address at the Rose Garden later this evening.

Obama was up against several people, including French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. A record 205 nominations were received this year.

The Nobel Prize is an international award administered by the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden. The Prizes have been awarded since 1901 for achievements in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and for peace.