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Obama Nobel marks US return to world's 'hearts': Sarkozy

Sat Oct 10 03:41:17 EST 2009
Fri Oct 9 16:41:17 UTC 2009

PARIS, Oct 9 AFP - US President Barack Obama's Nobel Peace Prize marks "America's return to the hearts of the people of the world," French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Friday.

Sarkozy congratulated Obama and said the Nobel Committee had recognised his "determined commitment to human rights, justice and the promotion of peace in the world, in accordance with the will of founder Albert Nobel".

The prize also "does justice to your vision of tolerance and dialogue between states, cultures and civilisations," said Sarkozy in a letter to Obama, released by his office.

"It confirms, finally, America's return to the hearts of the people of the world," he added.

The French leader expressed his "very great joy" at the news and said the prize would strengthen the will of leaders and people worldwide to cooperate with Obama and with the United States.

"Along this path, you can count on my resolute support and that of France," Sarkozy added.

In awarding the prestigious prize to Obama, the Nobel jury in Olso said Obama had "captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future."

Sarkozy, who has led a French rapprochement with the United States since he took office in 2007, and has worked with Obama to address the perceived threat from Iran's nuclear programme.

They have also had their differences, including over the reforms needed to strengthen global finance regulation after the 2008 meltdown.