Anti-nuclear group wins Peace Prize

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OSLO/GENEVA: The Norwegian Nobel Committee, warning of a rising risk of nuclear war and the spread of weapons to North Korea, awarded this year's Nobel Peace Prize yesterday to a little-known campaign group seeking a global ban on nuclear arms.

The award to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) was unexpected, particularly in a year when the architects of the 2015 nuclear deal between international powers and Iran had been seen as favourites for achieving the sort of diplomatic breakthrough that has won the prize in the past.

ICAN describes itself as a coalition of grassroots non-government groups in more than 100 nations. It began in Australia and was officially launched in Vienna in 2007.

"We live in a world where the risk of nuclear weapons being used is greater than it has been for a long time," said Ms Berit Reiss-Andersen, the leader of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

ICAN executive director Beatrice Fihn said the group is elated.

The Norwegian Nobel committee denied that giving the prize to an anti-nuclear group was intended either as rebuke to US President Donald Trump or as a snub to the architects of the Iran nuclear deal.

"The Iran treaty is a positive development, a disarmament development that is positive, but the reason we mentioned North Korea (in our statement) is a reference to the threat that people actually feel," Ms Reiss-Andersen said. - REUTERS

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