Tony Blair receives Liberty Medal from Bill Clinton

Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister

Former president Bill Clinton presented Tony Blair  with the Liberty Medal last night in Philadelphia, one of America’s most prestigious awards.
Blair’s role in the Northern Ireland peace process was particularly highlighted by the National Constitution Center.

"Former prime minister Blair played a critical role in advancing peace in Northern Ireland during his tenure as British prime minister," the centre said.

"Throughout the gruelling negotiation process that preceded the historic Good Friday accord, he displayed unwavering determination to settle the generations-long conflict."received the Liberty medal in Philadelphia last night "in recognition of his steadfast commitment to conflict resolution".

Clinton also highlighted the Northern Ireland peace role that Blair played: "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." he said.

There were no protestors at the event , unlike Blair’s book signing in Dublin two weeks ago which led to the cancellation of other book events.
"To be free, is to be responsible for the freedom of others," said Blair in a brief acceptance speech.

Clinton also state that Blair "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".

Past winners of the award include Lech Walesa, the Polish leader and  former president Jimmy Carter. Steven Spielberg was last year's winner.

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