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Obama accepts Nobel Peace Prize as 'call to action'

RIA Novosti

20:09 09/10/2009 WASHINGTON, October 9 (RIA Novosti) - U.S. President Barack Obama said on Friday he was "surprised and deeply humbled" by his Nobel Peace Prize award, which he called an "an affirmation of American leadership."

The Norwegian Nobel Committee announced the award earlier in the day for Obama's "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples".

Speaking to reporters outside the White House, Obama said: "I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of American leadership."

The president said he felt unworthy to be in the company of previous winners, but that: "I will accept this award as a call to action."

The prize will be awarded in Oslo on December 10.

Since taking office, Obama has promoted the idea of a nuclear-free world, entering into talks with Russia on a new nuclear disarmament treaty and pushing the concept last month when he became the first U.S. president to chair a session of the UN Security Council.

However, given U.S. involvement in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as cross-border drone attacks on targets in Pakistan that have resulted in civilian deaths, the choice is likely to prove a controversial one in some quarters.

The award has also been seen by many as premature, given Obama's relatively short time in office.

The committee had to consider a record 205 nominations this year.

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