Home | Return
Nobel winner Carter urges Israel to withdraw from
Jimmy Carter delivering his Nobel acceptance speech in Oslo on
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter used his Nobel Peace Prize
acceptance speech Tuesday to call on Israel to comply with a United
Nations resolution to withdraw from the territories as a
fundamental step towards peace in the Middle East.
"At Camp David in 1978 and in Oslo in 1993, Israelis, Egyptians,
and Palestinians have endorsed the only reasonable prescription for
peace: United Nations Resolution 242," he said.
"It condemns the acquisition of territory by force, calls for
withdrawal of Israel from the occupied territories, and provides
for Israelis to live securely and in harmony with their neighbors.
There is no other mandate whose implementation could more profoundly
improve international relationships."
Saying that war is always evil, Carter, calling himself a "citizen
of a troubled world", also made veiled criticisms of U.S. President
George W. Bush for opposing UN-led schemes to protect the
environment or to create an international criminal court, and urged the world
to accept UN leadership in tackling challenges from the Middle East to
"Global challenges must be met with an emphasis on peace, in
harmony with others, with strong alliances and international consensus,"
Carter told a ceremony in Oslo City Hall after collecting a Nobel
gold medal and diploma to a standing ovation.
"Imperfect as it may be, there is no doubt that this can best be
done through the United Nations," said the 78-year-old Democrat, who was
U.S. president from 1977-81.
"War may sometimes be a necessary evil," Carter told an audience of
about 1,000 people including his wife Rosalynn and Norway's King
Harald and Queen Sonja.
"But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good.
We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each
other's children," he said.
Carter, who almost won the prize in 1978 for brokering an
Israeli-Egyptian peace deal, also said "the world is, in many ways,
a more dangerous place" in the new millennium because of civil wars
and "appalling acts of terrorism."
The head of the Nobel Committee, Gunnar Berge, said Carter was
honoured for decades working for peace, democracy and human rights.
Berge did not mention that he had said two months ago, in
announcing the prize, that he also reckoned it was a "kick in the leg" to
Bush's policy on Iraq.
"Jimmy Carter will probably not go down in history as the most
effective president. But he is certainly the best ex-president the
country ever had," he said.
Carter reiterated calls on Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to comply
fully with UN weapons inspectors and warned powerful nations
against launching wars in a bid to prevent bigger conflicts.
Carter told CNN in a later interview that the UN Security Council
should have the final word in deciding if there should be a war
against Iraq - even though nations including China and Russia a
veto on the Council.
He said he "hoped and expected" that Bush would submit to UN
decisions. Asked if he would have risked UN vetoes for key U.S.
policies when he was president, he said: "'Welcome' is maybe not
the right word. I would have accepted it."
Carter also made a plea for acceptance of global standards on
issues including a ban on landmines, creation of an international criminal
court to try war crimes and schemes to combat global warming mainly
caused by burning fossil fuels.
"Those agreements already adopted must be fully implemented, and
others should be pursued aggressively," Carter said. Bush has
to sign up to several key global pacts.
Carter also praised the United States, saying it had used its power
with restraint in the past. "We have not assumed that super
strength guarantees super wisdom," he said.
Carter said he had previously pointed to "the growing chasm between
the richest and poorest people on earth" as the main challenge of
"The results of this disparity are root causes of most of the
world's unresolved problems, including starvation, illiteracy,
environmental degradation, violent conflict and unnecessary illnesses that range
from Guinea worm to HIV/AIDS," he said.
Carter later waved to a crowd of several hundred people in a
traditional torchlit march past his hotel in freezing cold. He was
to attend a Nobel banquet, with peanut cake on the menu.