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The Latest: Gorbachev hails Nobel prize for anti-nuke group

The Latest: Gorbachev hails Nobel prize for anti-nuke group Photo: AP.

October 06, 2017 08:53 AM

OSLO, Norway (AP) — The Latest on the Nobel Peace Prize (all times local):

14:50 p.m.

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Former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev has hailed the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to a group campaigning against nuclear weapons, saying it reinforces the position that he and Ronald Reagan took at the Reykjavik summit a generation ago.

Gorbachev, who has himself campaigned against nuclear weapons since leaving office in 1991, said he was "very worried that military doctrines again allow the use of nuclear weapons.

He added in a statement: "I would like to remind about a joint statement we signed with Ronald Reagan: A nuclear war can't be won and must never be fought."

Although the 1986 Reykjavik meeting collapsed at the last minute, it led to the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty that banned all land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (310 and 3,410 miles).

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14:10 p.m.

Two days before her organization won the Nobel Peace Prize, Beatrice Fihn, sent a tweet that turned awkward: "Donald Trump is a moron."

The executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons told a news conference after the prize announcement that she was trying to make a joke, "which I kind of regret now," based on reports that U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had said the same of Trump.

But, she added, "I think that the election of President Donald Trump has made a lot of people very uncomfortable with the fact that he alone can authorize the use of nuclear weapons."

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12:45 p.m.

The European Union's foreign policy chief welcomed the awarding of this year's Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

Federica Mogherini said on Twitter Friday: "We share a strong commitment to achieving the objective of a world free from nuclear weapons."

Two European Union members — France and Britain — are nuclear powers.

Mogherini and her predecessor, Catherine Ashton, were heavily involved in brokering a deal to contain Iran's nuclear program.

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12:40 p.m.

In Japan, the only country to suffer an atomic bombing in the closing days of World War II, this year's Nobel Peace Prize resonated with many.

Sunao Tsuboi, a 92-year-old survivor of the Hiroshima bombing, said he was overjoyed to hear of the Nobel Peace award going to those who were also working toward the abolition of nuclear weapons.

He said that "as long as I live, I hope to work toward a realization of a world without nuclear weapons with ICAN and many other people."

Tsuboi, whose ear is partly missing and his face blotched with burn marks, is co-chair of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations, or Hidankyo, and has devoted his life to the fight to eradicate nuclear weapons, stressing that the weapon is designed simply to kill.

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11:50 a.m.

The director of the anti-nuclear campaign that won this year's Nobel Peace Prize says that "it sends a message to all nuclear-armed states and all states that continue to rely on nuclear weapons for security that it is unacceptable behavior."

Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the Geneva-based International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, told reporters that "we can't threaten to indiscriminately slaughter hundreds of thousands of civilians in the name of security. That's not how you build security."

Fihn said that the group has received a phone call minutes before the official announcement was made that ICAN had won the prize. But she thought it was "a prank" and she didn't believe it until heard the name of the group during the Peace Prize announcement in Oslo.

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11 a.m.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons has won the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee honored the Geneva-based group "for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons."

The statement, read by committee chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen, said that "through its inspiring and innovative support for the U.N. negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons, ICAN has played a major part in bringing about what in our day and age is equivalent to an international peace congress."

Asked by journalists whether the prize was essentially symbolic, given that no international measures against nuclear weapons have been reached, Reiss-Andersen said that "what will not have an impact is being passive."

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7 a.m.

The Norwegian committee that chooses the Nobel Peace Prize winner sorted through more than 300 nominations for this year's award, which recognizes both accomplishments and intentions.

The prize announcement comes Friday in the Norwegian capital Oslo, culminating a week in which Nobel laureates have been named in medicine, physics, chemistry and literature.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee does not release names of those it considers for the prize, but said 215 individuals and 103 organizations were nominated.

Observers see the Syrian volunteer humanitarian organization White Helmets as a top contender, along with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini for shepherding the deal to curb Iran's nuclear program.


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(Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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