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Friday, 12 October, 2001, 12:41 GMT 13:41 UK
UN wins Nobel Peace Prize
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan
Annan, a consummate diplomat, has revitalised the UN
The United Nations and its Secretary General, Kofi Annan, have been awarded the centenary Nobel Peace Prize.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee praised the international organisation and its 63-year-old leader for working for human rights and to defuse global conflicts.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes in its centenary year to proclaim that the only negotiable route to global peace and co-operation goes by way of the United Nations

The Nobel Committee
In making the award, a spokesman for the Nobel Committee said: "Kofi Annan has dedicated almost all his working life to the United Nations. As secretary general, he has brought new life to the organisation."

The committee also praised Mr Annan for helping the UN rise to emerging challenges like the fights against HIV/Aids and international terrorism.

The prize, named after Alfred Nobel, a Swedish philanthropist and inventor of dynamite, is worth $946,200.

'Wonderful feeling'

In his first reaction to winning the award, Mr Annan said: "It's a wonderful feeling and a great encouragement for us and the organisation, for the work we have done until now. It's a great recognition for the staff.

Recent winners
2000: South Korean President Kim Dae-jung
1999: Medecins Sans Frontieres
1998: Northern Ireland party leaders David Trimble and John Hume
1994: Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and his Foreign Minister, Shimon Peres
1993: Then African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela and South African President FW de Klerk
1991: Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi
"At the same time it is a great responsibility at such a difficult moment but reinforces us in pursuing the search for peace."

Mr Annan took up the top UN post in 1997 and won a second five-year term as secretary general this year unopposed.

The UN has 50,000 employees worldwide. It has its headquarters in New York, six regional branches worldwide and field offices around the world. It was founded in 1945 and now has 189 state members.

The organisation's shortcomings have been numerous - its failure to stop the genocide in Rwanda, and its inability to stop brutal ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, to name but a few.

But, as the BBC's UN correspondent, Greg Barrow notes, against these are the success stories, like the recent efforts to nurture democracy in East Timor.

As always, there will be critics who object to this award but to those who work under the blue flag of the UN, this is a welcome tribute.

The BBC's Greg Barrow
"Thousands of UN staff members will welcome this award"
Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General
"The only true prize will be peace itself"
See also:

12 Oct 01 | Europe
The UN's proudest hour
04 Sep 01 | Africa
Rwanda warms to UN chief
10 Oct 01 | Americas
UN walks a fine line
04 Sep 00 | World
UN in a new millennium
12 Oct 01 | Europe
The Nobel Peace Prize
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