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Tunisian Nobel Prize Winners Call for Peace in Libya, Syria

FILE - Left to right, Tunisian Nobel Peace Prize Winners Houcine Abassi, Abdessattar Ben Moussa, Fadhel Mafoudh and Wided Bouchamaoui are seen at a ceremony in Tunis, Nov.9, 2015.

Tunisia's Nobel Peace Prize winners, who helped achieve a peaceful transition to democracy in their own country, called on Wednesday for warring parties in the Middle East to lay down their arms.

Tunisia's National Dialogue Quartet will collect their award in Oslo on Thursday for helping build democracy in the birthplace of the Arab Spring, a region otherwise struggling with violence and upheaval.

With a new constitution, free elections and a compromise politics between Islamist and secular leaders, Tunisia has been held up as a model of how to move to a democracy from dictatorship.

The quartet of the Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT), the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA), the Tunisian Human Rights League (LTDH), and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers was formed in the summer of 2013.

Dialogue, not weapons

"Conflicts can never be resolved by weapons, but dialogue," LTDH President Abdessattar Ben Moussa told a news conference.

"Arms can never be a solution, neither in Syria nor in Libya."

The quartet helped support the democratization process when it was in danger of collapsing, the Norwegian Nobel committee said in its citation when it announced the award in October.

"We managed to anticipate what might happen if we did not find a way to find a solution," said UGTT Secretary-General Hussein Abassi.

"We are an exception, but it does not mean that it cannot be replicated in other countries."

The Nobel Peace Prize, worth 8 million Swedish crowns ($0.95 milion), will be presented on December 10.