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Blair awarded million-dollar leadership prize

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Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has been awarded a prize of one million dollars by the Israeli Dan David Foundation for his "leadership in helping to engineer agreements and forge lasting solutions to areas in conflict."


AFP - Former British premier Tony Blair, now peace envoy for the Middle East, on Monday won a prestigious million-dollar prize for his leadership on the world stage, the Israel-based Dan David Foundation said.

The foundation awarded him the Dan David Prize -- worth 780,000 euros -- for "his exceptional leadership and steadfast determination in helping to engineer agreements and forge lasting solutions to areas in conflict."

It cited his role in brokering the 1998 peace deal between Protestants and Catholics in British-ruled Northern Ireland, and in the Kosovo conflict -- but makes no mention of his support for the US-led war in Iraq.

Blair is currently the representative of the international quartet for the Middle East peace process. The quartet is made up of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations.

Another of the three annual prizes from the foundation, which is based at Tel Aviv University, was awarded to scientist Robert Gallo, seen as one of the "co-discoverers" of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

A condition of the prize is that 10 percent of the money is used to fund graduate students, and a spokesman for Blair said the rest will be donated to his charity for religious understanding, the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.

In a statement on its website, the foundation hailed Blair as "one of the most outstanding statesmen of our era," noting two key beliefs that guide him.

"First, that it is a mistake for the world to wait for America to solve all of the tough questions, and second, that there are some things a (given) state may do within its borders that justify (international) intervention even if the actions do not directly threaten another nation's interests," it said.

The prize, awarded to Nobel laureate and former US vice-president Al Gore last year, will be presented in a ceremony on May 17 at the university.

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