Nobel Peace Prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari is urging U.S. President-elect Barack Obama to focus on solving the Middle East conflict in the first year of his presidency.

The former Finnish president and veteran diplomat spoke Wednesday in Oslo, Norway as he received the 2008 prize for decades of global peace-making efforts.

In his acceptance speech, Mr. Ahtisaari said U.S. partners in the so-called quartet - the European Union, Russia and the United Nations - must also remain committed to a peace deal that encompasses the larger region as well. He said the credibility of the international community is at stake.

Laureates of the 2008 prizes in literature, economics, medicine, physics and chemistry also received their awards in the Swedish capital, Stockholm Wednesday.

French scientists Luc Montagnier and Francoise Barre-Sinoussi were honored for AIDS research, along with German researcher Harald zur Hausen, who discovered the virus that causes cervical cancer.

The literature prize went to French author Jean-Marie Le Clezio, while Princeton University professor and newspaper columnist Paul Krugman won for economics. Japanese-American physics laureate Yoichiro Nambu, 87, and his two Japanese co-laureates, Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Maskawa, were honored for their research on the nature of sub-atomic particles.

The chemistry prize went to U.S. researchers Martin Chalfie, Roger Tsien, and Japanese colleague Osamu Shimomura for work on fluorescent proteins.

Recipients get a diploma, a medal, and a $1.2 million cash prize. The awards are traditionally given out on December 10, the anniversary of the death of Alfred Nobel, the industrialist and inventor of dynamite, who created the prize endowments.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.