Oslo, Norway -- President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev may jointly win the Nobel peace prize Thursday for their agreement to destroy an entire class of nuclear missiles through last year's Intermediate Nuclear Force reduction treaty.
'There's little doubt,' said a Nobel committee source on condition of anonymity. 'They are the main contenders.'
The superpower leaders were nominated jointly for the 1988 Nobel Peace Prize shortly after they signed the INF treaty in Washington Dec. 8, the source said. He would not say who submitted the nomination.
Nobel committee spokesman Jakob Sverdrup said 95 other individuals and 23 organizations have been nominated for this year's prize - including Pope John Paul, U.N. official Brian Urquhart, Philippine President Cory Aquino and pop singer Bob Geldof. It will be awarded Thursday.
All of them have been on the short list for the past two years. New names for 1988 include Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, South Africa's imprisoned African National Congress leader, Nelson Mandela, and Austrian President Kurt Waldheim, nominated for his record as United Nations secretary general.
Nominated organizations include the International Scout Movement, the World Health Organization and the British Broadcasting Corp., which was chosen for contributing to international understanding through its overseas radio services.
It wouldn't be the first time that former foes jointly could win the Peace Prize, which was established under the terms of the 1895 will of Sweden's Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite.
Then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Vietnam's Le Duc Tho were awarded the 1973 prize for their efforts to end the Vietnam War. Le Duc Tho declined the honor.
Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat shared the 1978 prize for the Camp David accords, which led to their peace treaty. Japanese Prime Minister Eisaku Satu shared the 1974 prize with Sean Mcbride, president of the International Peace bureau.
The Peace Prize, one of five established in Nobel's will, is awarded not necessarily for bringing peace but 'for the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition of standing armies and the holding and promotion of peace congresses.'
The 1988 prize will be the 59th awarded since the first one was given out in 1901. The Peace Prize Committee, an independent standing commitee of the Norwegian Parliament, has not awarded any Peace Prize 30 times.
It went to Costa Rican President Oscar Arias Sanchez last year.
All other Nobel prizes -- in medicine, physics, chemistry, literature and economics -- are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden, and will be announced next month.It remains unclear why Nobel chose Norway, which was united with Sweden at the time, to award the peace prize.
Nobel's will made no provision for an economics award, the sixth Nobel prize. It was established in 1968 by Sweden's National Bank.
Apart from prestige, a medal and a diploma, all Nobel prizes carry a cash award -- $390,000 this year.
All of the prizes will be presented formally at big ceremonies in Stockholm and Oslo Dec. 10, the anniversary of Nobel's death in Paris in 1896.