Washington (AFP): Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama on Friday hailed the courage of this year’s laureate, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, and said the award was well earned.
“The Nobel Committee made the right decision in welcoming his tireless efforts to bring a just and lasting peace to Colombia,” Obama said.
“This award is a testament to President Santos’s unwavering, courageous leadership through years of difficult negotiations.”
The Nobel committee raised eyebrows by giving Obama the prize in 2009, just months after he entered the White House.
It surprised again on Friday, giving the award to Santos just days after Colombian voters rejected a peace deal between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
“The democratic vote this week is a reminder that there is still work to be done to realize the future for which President Santos and so many citizens are striving,” Obama said.
“But it’s also a sign that the national dialogue Colombia needs is taking place now and is building on the momentum created by four years of difficult negotiations.
“President Santos and the citizens of Colombia are reshaping their country for the better, and I am pleased the Nobel Committee is recognizing their work as they keep pushing toward peace.”