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Carter Grateful for Nobel Peace Prize - 2002-10-11

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter says he was "delighted, humbled and very grateful" to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He earned the prize for what the Nobel Committee called Mr. Carter's dedication to the principles that conflicts should be resolved by mediation and international cooperation.

Former President Jimmy Carter told a news conference in his hometown of Plains, Georgia, of his appreciation that the Nobel Committee recognized his mediation efforts in the Middle East and the activities of the Carter Center, the non-governmental organization he established 20 years ago. "I was also thankful that when they mentioned the reasons for giving me the award they talked about the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt and especially emphasized the work of the Carter Center," he said.

Mr. Carter said he does not view the award as a direct criticism of the Bush administration. But he left no doubt he believes the United States, as the world's remaining superpower, should act in accordance with international law and should not take any action against Iraq without the support of the world community. "I think the message that I derive from this is a commitment to peace, to the honoring of international law, to the partnership that the United States must maintain as the only superpower now, but also as an integral part of the world community," said Jimmy Carter. "My hope is that the message that I've been delivering in the last few months in a very small way, that we should work through the United Nations, in dealing with crises on earth like the Iraq issue, will be heard clearly."

President Bush called Mr. Carter after the Nobel announcement to say he was pleased to congratulate a former American president for winning such a prestigious award.

The 78-year-old Mr. Carter said almost all the prize money of more than $1 million will go towards continuing the Carter Center's work to advance peace and health worldwide.