Blair to receive US peace medal

Tony Blair Tony Blair currently works as a Middle East peace envoy

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Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair is to receive a prestigious US medal and $100,000 (£67,000) prize for his work in conflict resolution.

The National Constitution Centre is awarding him its Liberty Medal for "steadfast" efforts to broker peace in Northern Ireland and the Middle East.

Previous winners include Nelson Mandela and former US presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush senior.

Mr Blair said he was driven by values of "freedom, liberty and justice".

Mr Clinton, the centre's chairman, will present the medal in Philadelphia on 13 September.

'Dedication and creativity'

He said: "It was a privilege to work with my friend Tony Blair to help end 30 years of sectarian violence and broker a lasting peace in Northern Ireland, to stop the killing in and mass exodus from Kosovo, and to develop policies that would improve living conditions for people in both our countries.

"Now, as a private citizen, Tony continues to demonstrate the same leadership, dedication and creativity in promoting economic opportunity in the Middle East and the resolution of conflicts rooted in religion around the world, and is building the capacity of developing nations to govern honestly and effectively."

In response, Mr Blair, who currently works as a peace envoy to the Middle East, said: "Freedom, liberty and justice are the values by which this medal is struck.

"Freedom, liberty and justice are the values which I try to apply to my work on governance in Africa and on preparing the Palestinians for statehood.

"They are the values which drive the work of my faith foundation as we try to show that people of different faiths can live together constructively in peace and harmony."

Mr Blair's office said he would be donating the prize money to two of his charities - the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative.

Last year, Mr Blair received the highest civilian award in the US, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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