Accessibility links

Obama Peace Prize Win Draws Mixed Reaction

Obama Peace Prize Win Draws Mixed Reaction

Obama Peace Prize Win Draws Mixed Reaction

<!-- IMAGE -->

The surprise choice of President Barack Obama as this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner has drawn both praise and criticism.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hailed the news. He said Mr. Obama "embodies the new spirit of dialogue and engagement" on the world's biggest problems, including climate change and nuclear disarmament.

The foundation of former South African president and previous Nobel winner Nelson Mandela also welcomed the choice, stating it hopes the award will strengthen Mr. Obama's commitment to "promoting peace and the eradication of poverty."

Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama congratulated the president, as did German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

But others say the decision is premature for a leader less than a year into his first term and with no definitive progress in sight on a range of foreign policy fronts.

Former Polish President Lech Walesa, also a Nobel laureate, said it is too early to award President Obama with the peace prize, saying he has made no contribution so far.

The Taliban in Afghanistan condemned Mr. Obama's selection, saying he has escalated the conflict there and contributed to the deaths of civilians.

Many say it is not what Mr. Obama has done, but what he may do that is important.

Nobel peace prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa said the award "speaks to the promise of President Obama's message of hope."

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak expressed his hope Mr. Obama's award would boost his ability to bring peace to the Middle East.

A spokesman for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the French news agency the award should prompt Mr. Obama to start working towards ending injustice in the world.

The head of the United Nations nuclear agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, another former Nobel winner, said Mr. Obama has rekindled hope for a world at peace with itself.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.