UN leader praises Nobel winners
New York - UN leader Ban Ki-moon was quick to praise the three women who won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday - in marked contrast to his reluctance to mention the Chinese dissident who won last year.
"This is wonderful news. This award could not be better chosen. This is a testament to the power of women’s leadership," Ban said of the Nobel prize award to Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian peace campaigner Leymah Gbowee and Yemen's Arab Spring activist Tawakul Karman.
"Above all, it underscores the vital role that women play in the advancement of peace and security, development, and human rights," Ban added.
Human rights groups criticised Ban last year when he would not comment on the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.
Rights groups said he was afraid to tackle China, a key member of the UN Security Council. The UN secretary general says he prefers "quiet diplomacy" in sensitive cases.