Barack Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize

US President is honoured for his 'extraordinary efforts' to bring world peace

US President Barack Obama has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009.

The Nobel Committee announced Obama would receive the honour for ‘his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples‘.

He was especially honoured for promoting nuclear disarmament and working to restore peace in the Middle East.

‘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 during the announcement in Oslo.

Obama only took office as president of the United States in January. A statement released by his spokesman today said he was ‘humbled’ by the honour.

He said he had to wake Obama up to tell him the surprising news. Many critics had said it was too early in his presidency to award Obama.

‘His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population,’ said the committee in a statement.

Head of the Nobel Committee Thorbjoern Jagland said Obama won the prize because ‘we would like to support what he is trying to achieve‘.

‘It is a clear signal that we want to advocate the same as he has done,’ he said.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the prize was a sign of ‘America‘s return to the hearts of the people of the world‘.

The Nobel Peace Prize is also a cash prize worth 10 million Swedish crowns (£878,000). The money will be handed over in the Norwegian capital at the beginning of December.

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