Tony Blair wins US Liberty medal for peace work

TONY Blair has been named the winner of the prestigious Liberty Medal for 2010 by the USA's National Constitution Centre.

The former prime minister will receive his gong - awarded for "his steadfast commitment to conflict resolution" - from the Centre's chairman Bill Clinton on 13 September in Philadelphia.

Previous recipients of the medal include Nelson Mandela, who won jointly with his predecessor as South African president FW de Klerk in 1993, Mikhail Gorbachev, Lech Walesa, US presidents Jimmy Carter, George Bush snr and Bill Clinton.

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Announcing the award, which comes with $100,000 (66,000) in prize money, the Centre cited Mr Blair's role in advancing peace in Northern Ireland, his work as an international envoy in the Middle East, his involvement in initiatives to improve governance in Africa and tackle climate change, and the work of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.

Mr Clinton said: "It was a privilege to work with my friend Tony Blair to help end 30 years of sectarian violence and broker a lasting peace in Northern Ireland, to stop the killing in and mass exodus from Kosovo, and to develop policies that would improve living conditions for people in both our countries.

"Now, as a private citizen, Tony continues to demonstrate the same leadership, dedication and creativity in promoting economic opportunity in the Middle East and the resolution of conflicts rooted in religion around the world, and is building the capacity of developing nations to govern honestly and effectively."

Thanking the Centre, Mr Blair said: "Freedom, liberty and justice are the values which I try to apply to my work on governance in Africa and on preparing the Palestinians for statehood."

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