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Hollande awards France's Legion of Honour to U.N.'s Ban Ki-moon

French President Francois Hollande (R) awards the Legion of Honour (Legion d'Honneur) to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, November 17, 2016. REUTERS/bertrand Guay/Pool

PARIS (Reuters) - United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon received the Legion of Honour from French President Francois Hollande on Thursday for his contributions to tackling climate change.

The South Korean diplomat helped push through the 2015 Paris Agreement, a deal aimed at moving away from fossil fuels to cleaner energies that was signed by almost 200 countries after nearly two decades of negotiations.

“It was largely because of your contribution, because many years ago you started putting this topic on all the agendas,” Holland said at the ceremony of Ban’s efforts.

The Legion of Honour was established in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte and is considered to be one of France’s highest civilian awards.

“By doing this you are rewarding our honorable organization and I feel deeply honored and proud,” said Ban, who will step down as head of the 193-member world organization after 10 years on Jan. 1. He will be replaced by Antonio Guterres of Portugal.

Reporting by Reuters TV. Editing by Patrick Johnston and Malcolm Foster