Carter Accepts Nobel Peace Prize

Exterior view of the house of a psychotherapist in Berlin, Germany, Sept. 20, 2009. Two people died and 10 others were hospitalized after being poisoned while taking part in a group therapy session in Berlin, German police said Sunday, Sept. 20, 2009. One person is in critical condition in a coma. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn) AP Photo/Michael Sohn

Jimmy Carter accepted the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize on Tuesday and urged people to work for peace in a world that has become "a more dangerous place."

In particular, reports CBS News Correspondent Bill Gasperini, he called on Iraq to fully comply with the U.N. resolution on weapons inspections, and for more talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

In the solemn ceremony, with music and flowers, Mr. Carter accepted a Nobel gold medal and diploma. The prize also includes a $1 million cash prize.

The former president, smiling broadly, stayed only briefly on stage, displaying the gold Nobel medal and diploma to sustained applause. His wife, Rosalynn, watched from the front row with their children and grandchildren looking on.

The 78-year-old former president was honored for his pursuit of peace, health and human rights that began with the 1978 Camp David accords between Israel and Egypt which, but for a formality, would have won him the prize 24 years ago.

Mr. Carter accepted his prize in a world unnerved by the threat of terrorism, and uneasy that a new war in Iraq may erupt if it fails to obey U.N. Security Council resolutions demanding it prove it has no weapons of mass destruction.

"Instead of entering a millennium of peace, the world is now, in many ways, a more dangerous place. The greater ease of travel and communication has not been matched by equal understanding and mutual respect," he said.

Mr. Carter, a Democrat, has repeatedly urged President Bush to avoid a war in Iraq by working through the United Nations, and to support weapons inspections.

He is only the third U.S. president to receive the award. The others were Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson.

Before he entered the Oslo City Hall, Mr. Carter was greeted by nearly 2,000 Norwegian children in the bright sunshine in the snow-covered Norwegian capital.

"Norway is a country that most appreciates its children, and I want to congratulate this country and all of you," Mr. Carter told the cheering children.

In his Nobel speech, before Norway's King Harald V, and hundreds of others, including Mr. Carter's own children and grandchildren, the former president took a broader view.

"War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn to live together in peace by killing each other's children."

He urged respect for the United Nations as the international forum for solving disputes, and said the United States, as the last superpower, has "not assumed that super strength guarantees super wisdom."

Gunnar Berge, the chairman of the five-member Norwegian awards committee, caused a stir when he announced the prize in October, calling it a "kick in the leg" to President Bush.

In his speech Tuesday, Berge called it "one of the real sins of omission" that Mr. Carter was not included in the 1978 prize given to Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat for signing the Camp David accords that Mr. Carter brokered.

"Jimmy Carter should, of course, have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize a long time ago," said Berge. Mr. Carter wasn't nominated for the award in time.

Mr. Carter, a former Georgia governor and peanut farmer, lost his bid for re-election in 1980 to Ronald Reagan.

"Jimmy Carter will probably not go down in American history as the most effective president," said Berge. "But he is certainly the best ex-president the country has ever had."

Mr. Carter, in black suit with red tie with blue and white trim, listened to Berge's Norwegian speech on headphones, often smiling.

He recalled Begin and Sadat as vivid examples of personal courage, as well as other laureates. He said 1964 Nobel Peace Prize winner and civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr., also from Georgia, was "the greatest leader my native state has ever produced."

The Nobel prizes, first awarded in 1901, were created by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel in his will and are always presented on Dec. 10, the anniversary of his death in 1896.

The peace prize is awarded in Oslo, while prizes in economics, medicine, physics, chemistry and literature are presented in Sweden.

Tuesday's ceremony including musical numbers by American opera singer Jessye Norman.
  • Francie Grace

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