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French President to Receive U.N. Peace Prize

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United Nations honors Francois Hollande for 'peace and stability' in Africa as fighting continues in Mali

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JL A. (286)
Monday February 25, 2013, 8:46 am
French President to Receive U.N. Peace Prize
United Nations honors Francois Hollande for 'peace and stability' in Africa as fighting continues in Mali

By Paul D. Shinkman
February 21, 2013 RSS Feed Print
France's President Francois Hollande and Mali's interim president Dioncounda Traore wave as Hollande arrives at the airport of Timbuktu, Feb. 2, 2013.

French President Francois Hollande and Mali's interim president Dioncounda Traore wave during a visit to Timbuktu, Feb. 2, 2013.

The United Nations will give one of its highest honors for peace to the president of France, citing his decision to send ground troops into Mali to push back an encroaching Islamic militant movement.

Francois Hollande ordered French troops into Mali last month after a group affiliating itself with al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb advanced from the arid Sahel region into the country's more populated southern areas. French efforts to repel the fighters northward have been largely successful, though now they face the challenge of defeating the Islamists on their own ground while maintaining their promise to exit the country swiftly and successfully.

France's President Francois Hollande shakes hands with supporters in Timbuktu on Feb. 2, 2013. (FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)

Hollande will receive the Felix Houphouet-Boigny peace award from the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization for "valuable contribution to peace and stability in Africa," according to a U.N. release.

[PHOTOS: French Troops Arrive in Mali]

"Having assessed the dangers and the repercussions of the situation on Africa, and on Mali in particular, as well as on the rest of the world, the Jury appreciated the solidarity shown by France to the peoples of Africa," said Joaquim Chissano, the former president of Mozambique and chair of the peace prize jury, in a media release.

France's President Francois Hollande (C) visits the Djingareyber mosque in Timbuktu, the second step of his one-day visit in Mali, on February 2, 2013. Islamists had torched the building housing priceless ancient manuscripts as they fled the town. (FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)

"The Jury condemns the violation of Mali's territorial integrity, the violation of human rights, the taking of hostages and the destruction of the cultural heritage of humanity in Timbuktu," he added.

[RECAP: Why Did France Invade Mali Anyway?]

The date of the award ceremony is not yet determined. The prize comes with $150,000.

French President Francois Hollande (L) and his Malian counterpart Dioncounda Traore (C) raise their hands on February 2, 2013 after delivering a speech at the Independence Square in Bamako. French President Francois Hollande called on Africans to take over the fight against extremism as he received a rapturous welcome today in Mali, where a French-led offensive has driven back Islamist rebels from the north. (ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)

French officials remain divided on how exactly their forces will pull out of Mali. Hollande said in January that troops would remain until the country is stable, though his foreign minister said in a separate venue they would only remain for a matter of weeks.

Fighting continues in the northwest African nation after a car exploded in Kidal and fighting came to a head in Gao, a northern town.

Past Member (0)
Monday February 25, 2013, 8:55 am
Clearly, all one has to do to win a peace prize anymore is to exhibit imperialist ambitions by launching an unprovoked attack against any people least able to put up a resistance. Why is the UN rewarding French neocolonialism?

JL A. (286)
Monday February 25, 2013, 10:47 am
Excellent question Brian! Anyone care to provide answers?

Rose Becke (294)
Monday February 25, 2013, 2:10 pm

jo M. (3)
Monday February 25, 2013, 2:17 pm
Good. Anyone willing to take on Islamist militants deserves a medal.

JL A. (286)
Monday February 25, 2013, 5:22 pm
Still looking for someone who has gathered or investigated relevant facts to respond to Brian's question based on factual information (from credible sources).

John B. (173)
Monday February 25, 2013, 9:46 pm
Thanks J.L. for the interesting post. I very much disagree with the award going to President Hollande. I have tried searching the internet to find out who else was being considered to receive the award but have come up empty handed. Read and noted.

JL A. (286)
Monday February 25, 2013, 10:31 pm
You are welcome John. It looks like he isn't the only one getting the award, the other seeming a more natural fit.
Past awardees included Jimmy Carter, Nelson Mandela, Yossef Arafat...

JL A. (286)
Monday February 25, 2013, 10:47 pm
A contrasting other awardee and details of how decisions are made:

Bishop Emeritus Paride Taban from South Suda is due to receive the award from UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon at a March 1 ceremony in Geneva
AFP , Thursday 7 Feb 2013

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A bishop from South Sudan was Thursday named winner of a UN peace prize in recognition of his efforts to build trust among warring communities in the conflict-torn region.

Bishop Emeritus Paride Taban won the 2013 Sergio Vieira de Mello Prize for his work at the Holy Trinity Peace Village in Kuron, in the east of South Sudan.

Set up in 2005, the village brings together people from different tribes and faiths who have been in conflict for years over cattle rustling.

"The fact that this village is now seen as an example of reconciliation and peace will encourage other communities to follow a similar approach in other areas of conflict in South Sudan and beyond," said Laurent Vieira de Mello, president of the prize foundation and eldest son of the late Sergio Vieira de Mello.

A Brazilian, Vieira de Mello, the UN's former human rights chief, was killed in a bombing in Iraq in 2003.

The prize is awarded annually to an individual, community or institution seen as having made an exceptional contribution to reconciliation of communities or groups in conflict, and whose example can be duplicated elsewhere.

The jury includes the UN's refugee agency and human rights chiefs.

Taban is due to receive the award -- which includes a symbolic sum of 5,000 Swiss francs ($5,500, 4,000 euros) -- from UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon at a March 1 ceremony in Geneva.

Jaime Alves (43)
Wednesday February 27, 2013, 3:58 am

Ro H. (0)
Wednesday February 27, 2013, 5:47 am

Michael Kirkby (90)
Wednesday February 27, 2013, 6:41 am
I guess any prize from the UN is nothing more than a piece of paper that isn't worth the ink on it. What is the sound of one hand clapping????????

JL A. (286)
Wednesday February 27, 2013, 7:25 am
You are welcome Ro.
It seems the UN awards may have become too much like the Oscars like you say Michael--a risk for any award without strict criteria.You cannot currently send a star to Michael because you have done so within the last week.

Birgit W. (154)
Wednesday February 27, 2013, 2:48 pm
Thank you

JL A. (286)
Wednesday February 27, 2013, 3:07 pm
You are welcome Birgit

Parvez Zuberi (7)
Thursday February 28, 2013, 2:24 am
UNO Peace prize has no value

Sergio Padilla (62)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 9:07 am

JL A. (286)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 9:50 am
You cannot currently send a star to Sergio because you have done so within the last day.
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