Tutu hails Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize

|PIC1|The Archbishop, a former recipient of Nobel Peace Prize, said Obama’s award showed great things were expected from him in the coming years.

“It is an award that speaks to the promise of President Obama's message of hope,” he said.

The Archbishop said the prize is a “wonderful recognition of Obama's effort to reach out to the Arab world after years of hostility.

“In a way, it's an award coming near the beginning of the first term of office of a relatively young president that anticipates an even greater contribution towards making our world a safer place for all,” he was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

Tutu won the Nobel prize in 1984 for his long battle for a non-violent end to South Africa's apartheid system of racial segregation.

Surprising all predictions and bookies, President Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Price on Friday, just eight months into his presidency.

The Norwegian committee said it wanted to honour Obama “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples”.

The president, who was announced winner by Nobel committee chairman Thorbjorn Jagland, said he was humbled to be selected, according to an administration official.

The Nobel committee recognised Obama’s efforts to solve complex global problems including working towards a world free of nuclear weapons and instilling a new hope for the world community.

“Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future,” the committee said.

The UN's nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei, another former winner, said Obama had “transformed the way we look at ourselves and the world we live in and rekindled hope for a world at peace with itself”.

“He has reached out across divides and made clear that he sees the world as one human family, regardless of religion, race or ethnicity.”

He was quoted by AFP as saying Obama had “provided outstanding leadership on moving towards a world free of nuclear weapons”, he said.

However, the committee’s decision to award the prize to Obama has drawn mixed reaction among users of social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter.

Upon repeated question by a CNN reporter, Jagland told CNN the committee’s decision was unanimous.

“We had no problem ... It was a unanimous decision.”

“There is a need now for constructive diplomacy for resolving conflicts and that is what President Obama is trying to do,” he added.

The last sitting US president to win the peace prize was Woodrow Wilson in 1919. The other was Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. Jimmy Carter had been out of office for more than two decades when he won in 2002.

The Nobel recipient receives a prize of about $1.4 million.