Obama's Prize Draws Praise and Critics

  While foreign leaders congratulated President Barack Obama for winning the Nobel Peace Prize, critics keep calling it undeserved and preliminary. 

   Russian President Dmitry Medvedev  said the award will encourage further U.S.-Russian cooperation.

  "I hope this decision would serve as an additional incentive for our common work to form a new climate in world politics and promote initiatives which are fundamentally important for global security," Medvedev said in a letter to Obama.

  Steele said Obama hasn't accomplished enough to deserve the prize. Numerous Democrats and independents have expressed similar views.

   Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro called the Nobel award a "positive step," although he said it was more a repudiation of former President George W. Bush than a recognition of anything concrete Obama has done.

  South Africa's president, Jacob Zuma, cited a Zulu term — "Ubuntu," which refers to the importance of community" — in saying Obama's "leadership reflects the true spirit of Ubuntu because your approach celebrates our common humanity."

   On October 9, 2009 the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced that Obama had won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples". As specific examples of the work that led to the award, the Nobel Prize Committee highlighted efforts to promote nuclear nonproliferation (particularly in Iran), and the fostering of a "new climate" in international relations, especially in reaching out to the Muslim world.

  Obama is the third sitting U.S. president to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and is the first to become a Nobel laureate during his first year in office. The award, a surprise to Obama, came earlier in Obama's term than for the three prior presidents to have won, and for a newer peace initiative on Obama's part than had been recognized by past Nobel Prize awards.

The Associated Press contributed to the report.

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