US Rep. Gordon Leads Bipartisan Group in Nominating Bill Richardson for Nobel Peace Prize

U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon nominated New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson for the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize in honor of the governor’s humanitarian efforts in North Korea and Sudan. The nomination was co-signed by 12 Democratic and Republican members of Congress.

"We live in a volatile world, but people like Bill Richardson are reaching out through diplomatic efforts to reduce those tensions," said Gordon. "He has worked tirelessly during his 22 years of public service, and his efforts this year alone are certainly worthy of this high recognition."

In January, Richardson, at the request of the Save Darfur Coalition, made his third trip to Sudan. There, he met with President Al-Bashir and representatives from rebel groups, the United Nations and other international agencies. Richardson was able to broker a fragile peace accord, which did not stand the test of time and mutual bad faith.

"I was privileged to see Bill Richardson’s unique combination of personal courage and negotiating savvy in play in early 2007 when he traveled to Khartoum and Darfur, at our request, to see if he could spark a serious peace process between the Government and rebels, and achieve agreement on the ceasefire without which a peace process would be hard to sustain," wrote Ambassador Rossin, Senior International Coordinator of the Save Darfur Coalition, and former UN Assistant Secretary in his letter of support.

"As the head of the US Diplomatic Mission in Khartoum at the time commented, nobody other than the Governor had come to talk honestly and clearly to the Sudanese leadership about what they needed to do to make peace, and nobody had come willing to advocate publicly for carrots, not just sticks, to encourage and reward positive Government actions," continued Ambassador Rossin. "And, on the other side, few had told the rebels to their faces that they had to stop attacking civilians and aid workers or face losing international sympathy. Fewer had been willing to stand up in Khartoum and espouse these controversial but necessary positions before the world press."

In April, Richardson traveled to North Korea to recover the remains of six U.S. servicemen killed during the Korean War. He took that opportunity to ask Bush Administration officials to join the mission in order to restart the nuclear disarmament process. It was Richardson’s sixth diplomatic mission to North Korea.

"Through his sincere moral commitment and skillful diplomacy, Bill Richardson has successfully negotiated the release of hostages in North Korea, Iraq, Cuba, Sudan and most recently his travels led him to North Korea to recover the remains of US Servicemen killed during the Korean War," said Anthony J. Principi, former Secretary of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs under President Bush, in his letter of support.

“As a former member of the President’s Cabinet, I share your hope for and efforts to cultivate peace and encourage the peacemakers. Bill Richardson is one such peacemaker, whom I have gotten to know in my public service capacity. Therefore, I wholeheartedly align myself with all who are nominating Bill Richardson for the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize, an award that he abundantly deserves."

Richardson’s previous humanitarian efforts have produced the release of captured American oil workers in Iraq, political prisoners in Cuba, and journalists and Red Cross workers in Sudan. His work has carried him across the globe from Haiti to Zaire to Afghanistan to work for peace agreements and transfers of power.

In a letter of support of the nomination, Linda Lynch, the wife of journalist Paul Salopek who was imprisoned by the Sudanese government in 2006, wrote, "I cannot think of criteria more essential to the evaluation of a potential Nobel Laureate for world peace than one that points to the type of courage that comes naturally to Governor Richardson. But it must go in hand with the impulse to use that courage for the good of all. Governor Richardson went into Sudan to negotiate the release of my husband Paul and his colleagues, which he did brilliantly, effectively, and quickly. But his efforts for them and for others, who have also been caught in the fray, are not one-time, stand alone accomplishments. They are components of a very long and carefully crafted path to which Governor Richardson is committed."

Following Congressman Gordon’s nomination letter, two Nobel Laureates will submit seconding letters to the Nobel committee. Based on the rules of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, their names will remain confidential.

Governor Richardson has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by the following members of the U.S. House of Representatives:

Bart Gordon (Tennessee, 6th Congressional District);
Joe Baca (California, 43rd);
Xavier Becerra (California, 31st);
Eliot Engel (New York, 17th);
Bob Filner (California, 51st);
Charles Gonzalez (Texas, 20th);
Grace Napolitano (California, 38th);
Solomon Ortiz (Texas, 27th);
Jim Ramstad (Minnesota, 3rd);
Silvestre Reyes (Texas, 16th);
Ciro Rodriguez (Texas, 23rd); and
John Tanner (Tennessee, 8th).

In addition, the following distinguished individuals have authored letters of support:
Ambassador Larry Rossin, former UN Assistant Secretary General, Principal Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General in Kosovo and Haiti;
The Honorable Anthony Principi, former Secretary of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs;
Linda Lynch, artist and wife of Chicago Tribune journalist Paul Salopek; and
Dr. Amatai Etzioni, Professor of International Affairs and Director, Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies, the Elliot School of International Affairs, George Washington University.

Congressman Bart Gordon nominated Richardson for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000 and 2001. Richardson also received nominations in 1995 and 1997. Members of national assemblies and governments, former Nobel Peace Prize laureates and leaders of peace research institutes are among those who are eligible to make nominations.

SOURCE: Richardson for President

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