Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has accepted the Nobel Peace Prize of 2016 at a ceremony in the Norwegian capital, Oslo.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee decided to award the prize to Santos for his resolute efforts to bring the country’s more than 50-year-long conflict with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to an end.
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The war has cost the lives of at least 220,000 Colombians and displaced close to six million people.
“It is much more difficult to achieve peace than to wage war,” Santos said in a speech after receiving the prize on Saturday.
“The real prize is the peace in Colombia.”
He said the agreement reached between the government and FARC fighters offers a template for solving conflicts from Syria to South Sudan.
“The Colombian peace agreement is a ray of hope in a world troubled by so many conflicts and so much intolerance,” he said.
“It proves that what, at first, seems impossible, through perseverance may become possible even in Syria or Yemen or South Sudan.”
The audience included victims of war as well as Norway’s King Harald and his family.
Santos was named the Nobel Peace Prize winner on October 7, just four days after the people in Colombia in a referendum narrowly rejected a peace deal his government had reached with the FARC.
Despite the setback, Santos said at the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo on Friday, he concluded that “all wanted peace.
“Four days later the Nobel Prize award was announced, and it came like a gift from heaven because it gave us a tremendous push,” he said.
“People in Colombia interpreted it as a mandate from the international community to persevere.”
Al Jazeera’s Laurence Lee, reporting from Oslo, said that in a year of “gloom”, Santos’s speech offers an “uplifting” message that peace is attainable.
The recipients of the Nobel prizes for medicine, physics, chemistry and economics are also to receive their awards.
The ceremonies for these prizes will be held in the Swedish capital, Stockholm.