Poland's anti-communist leader and 1983 Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Walesa expressed surprise on Friday that US President Barack Obama won this year's award just months after taking office.
"Who, Obama? So fast? Too fast -- he hasn't had the time to do anything yet," Walesa told reporters in Warsaw where he was attending the funeral of Marek Edelman, the last surviving leader of the doomed 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising against Nazi Germany.
"For the time being Obama's just making proposals. But sometimes the Nobel committee awards the prize to encourage responsible action," said Walesa.
"Let's give Obama a chance," Walesa, 65, who served five years as Poland's first democratically elected president after the collapse of communism in 1989.
Walesa himself won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 as the head of Poland's freedom fighting Solidarity trade union, the only independent trade union ever to exist in the entire communist bloc.
Under his leadership Solidarity undertook talks with the Poland's communist regime to negotiate a peaceful, bloodless end to communism in the country in 1989, a move which had a domino effect across the Soviet bloc, seeing its collapse in 1991.