JERUSALEM — U.N. peacekeepers today radioed word of their Nobel Peace Prize victory to battalions in battle-scarred Lebanon and cracked open bottles of champagne in Jerusalem to celebrate the prestigious award.
Spokesmen said the prize would give a boost to U.N. efforts to contain global conflicts.
"There is great joy. This came as a pleasant surprise," Timor Goksel, spokesman for the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon, said in a telephone interview from Naqoura, Lebanon. "The international community has finally given appropriate recognition to all the sacrifices our people have made."
"We just got the news," Lt. Col. Gerry McMahon, 52, of Newbridge, Ireland, said by phone. "We are sending it by radio to various battalions. It's the fastest way to get it out to everyone."
McMahon, a senior operations officer, said the peacekeepers often feel that their job is a thankless one "but we get used to that after a few years. It may not make world headlines, but every day you have a small achievement on the ground."