America’s secretary of state John Kerry has been named as the recipient of the Tipperary International Peace Award.
The Tipperary Peace Convention said it had chosen the US politician for his “work on a global basis to bring about an end to conflict in many countries”. He is to be presented with the award later this year.
Previous winners have included the late Nelson Mandela, former US President Bill Clinton, former President of Ireland Professor Mary McAleese, and Pakistani schoolgirl and Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai. Last year it went to UN secretary general Ban-ki Moon.
The convention said one of Mr Kerry’s greatest global challenges during his time as secretary of state had been the conflict in Syria.
“His efforts led to negotiations that resulted in the destruction of Syria’s declared chemical weapons,” the convention said.
“Secretary Kerry has been steadfast in this effort, saying that the ‘indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity’.”
The convention pointed out he had helped establish the International Syria Support Group, over 20 countries and entities that are working together to reach a political solution to end the conflict in Syria.
“Through this process, Secretary Kerry called for a cessation of hostilities and increased access for humanitarian aid throughout the country, as well as the beginning of political talks between the Syrian government and opposition,” the convention said.
It also praised Mr Kerry’s steadfast dedication which, it said, made him the leading force in recent multilateral talks with the government of Iran.
“These talks resulted in an arrangement to ensure Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful. Secretary Kerry led the global effort to defuse a political crisis in Afghanistan following the political elections in 2014.”
He also became the first sitting US secretary of state to visit Hiroshima, more than 70 years after the city was devastated by the world’s first atomic bombing.
Responding to his selection, Mr Kerry said “I am grateful to be selected for the Tipperary Peace Award. I am truly honoured to be listed among the remarkable past recipients who have contributed so much to the cause of creating a more peaceful world.”
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