M A I N   N E W S

‘Common Ground’ awards for Vajpayee, Pervez
T.V. Parasuram

Washington, March 19
Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf have been honoured here with this year’s Common Ground International Diplomacy Award for their “courageous commitment to re-launch a peace process between their countries.”

Indian Embassy’s Minister for Political Affairs Sajjan Har and the deputy chief at Pakistan Embassy Mohammed Sadiq received the award at a glittering function last night on behalf of Mr Vajpayee and Mr Musharraf, respectively.

The award “is presented for the political risk and moral courage of both leaders in their drive towards regional peace, as the outcome of this initiative unfolds,” a statement from Search for Common Ground, the NGO behind the award, said.

Diplomats from both the countries stressed their leaders’ hope for peace and prosperity in South Asia.

Former American diplomat Harold Saunders, whose efforts led to the Israeli-Egyptian Peace Treaty in the late 70s, was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Community of Sant’ Egido was bestowed with the International Peacemaking Award for charity.

Nigerian religious leaders Pastor James M. Wuye and Imam Muhammad Nurayn Ashafa were decorated with the Interfaith Cooperation Award for their initiative to stem violence in the African nation.

The Reconciliation Through the Arts Award went to the Pontanima Choir, Christians, Muslims and Jews, formed in 1996 in Sarajevo following the Bosnian war.

Four Israelis and an equal number of Palestinians were honoured with the Sports Diplomacy Award for embarking on an expedition to Antartica despite the hostilities.

The Regional AIDS Interfaith Network, founded in Charlotte, North Carolina, was honoured with the Community Peacemaking Award. — PTI

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