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Awards

Chemical watchdog OPCW accepts Nobel Peace Prize

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has accepted the Nobel Peace Prize. The chemical watchdog was awarded the prestigious accolade for its role in dismantling Syria's chemical arms stockpile.

The head of the OPCW accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the Hague-based organization in Oslo, Norway on Tuesday. The Nobel committee named the OPCW as the recipient for its work in eradicating chemical weapons worldwide, particularly for its efforts in Syria this year.

"With 190 states now members of this global ban, we are hastening the vision of a world free of chemical weapons to reality," OPCW Director General Ahmet Uzumcu said at the ceremony on Tuesday.

Uzumcu also paid tribute to fellow Nobel Peace Prize recipient Nelson Mandela, who passed away on Thursday, aged 95.

"This is a great honor for me, to be here 20 years after Nelson Mandela," Uzumcu said.

Committee praises OPCW work

Norwegian Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland noted the challenges that have faced the chemical weapons watchdog as it attempts work in a war zone.

"It is of course a huge challenge for the OPCW to manage to destroy all these weapons under the conditions of war and chaos prevailing in the country," Jagland said.

"The anonymous inspectors from the OPCW do an extremely and important and difficult job."

The OPCW's arbitration in destroying Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's chemical weapons was a major step in a US-Russia deal to dismantle his program by mid-2014.

"Hopefully in the near future we will be able to do away with a whole category of weapons, chemical weapons," Jagland added.

In October, the OPCW won the Nobel Peace Prize over education activist and Taliban shooting survivor Malala Yousafzai, as well as Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege and Belarusian human rights activist Ales Byalatski.

kms/ph (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)