President Barack Obama accepts Nobel Peace Prize

President Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize here today, acknowledging the irony of winning it as a wartime president and calling his own accomplishments "slight" in comparison to past winners.

But in his speech to the Nobel Committee, Obama spoke of the concept of a "just war" and the pursuit of a "just peace," which he said sometimes depends on more than simply refraining from violence.

Lauding the commitment of past Nobel laureates to non-violence, Obama said that, as a head of state and commander-in-chief of a military at war sworn to protect and defend his nation, he cannot follow their examples alone.

"I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people," Obama said. "For make no mistake: evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler's armies. Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda's leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism – it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason

With his remarks, delivered in the brief sunlight of the Norwegian winter's mid-day, Obama answered critics who complain that he was receiving the award before he has really done anything to achieve peace.

Barack Obama's trip to Oslo to pick up his Nobel peace award is in danger of being overshadowed by a row over the cancellation of a series of events normally attended by the prizewinner.

Norwegians are incensed over what they view as his shabby response to the prize by cutting short his visit.

The White House has cancelled many of the events peace prize laureates traditionally submit to, including a dinner with the Norwegian Nobel committee, a press conference, a television interview, appearances at a children's event promoting peace and a music concert, as well as a visit to an exhibition in his honour at the Nobel peace centre.

He has also turned down a lunch invitation from the King of Norway.