The United Nations Security Council has formally acknowledged the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the United Nations and its Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

In a special meeting of the Security Council Friday, President Richard Ryan, Ireland, read a statement saying the prize shows how much Mr. Annan is respected around the world. "It [the prize] rightly honors his exceptional achievements in the service of the United Nations and of the entire international community as well as honoring the achievements of the United Nations itself," Mr. Ryan said.

Responding to the statement, Secretary-General Annan said, as he often has, that it is the staff of the United Nations that most deserves to be recognized. "Those women and men work hard every day to make this world a more just, more peaceful and happier place for all its inhabitants," Mr. Annan said. "Many of them risk their lives and they richly deserve this award."

Mr. Annan said the United Nations plays an indispensable role as the "common house of the human family."

Some U.N. agencies have won the Nobel peace prize in past years, but this is the first time that the institution as a whole has been so honored. The only other U.N. Secretary General to win the prize was Dag Hammarskjold who was awarded it posthumously in 1961.