OSLO — The Norwegian Nobel Committee on Tuesday paid tribute to 1993 peace laureate Nelson Mandela, as it opened this year's prize ceremony.
"Twenty years ago, Nelson Mandela stood on this podium receiving the Nobel Peace Prize together with Frederik de Klerk," committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland told the audience in Oslo's City Hall.
"His victory over apartheid, his refusal to give in to bitterness and the desire for revenge, represent one of the biggest victories of mankind," he added.
"Mandela certainly lived up to the highest standards of the prize," he said at the ceremony, being held on the same day as Mandela's memorial in South Africa.
Earlier on Tuesday, the director general of this year's winner, the Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) described Mandela "as a man of vision, a man of peace."
"This is a great honor for me, to be here 20 years after Nelson Mandela," Ahmet Uzumcu told AFP.
"He was a source of inspiration to all of us, to our generation, and I'm sure to future generations too," he added.