The Nobel Foundation has reversed its invitations to representatives of Russia, Belarus and Iran for them to attend this year’s Nobel Prize awards ceremony in Stockholm.
This came a day after the foundation announced its decision to invite them.
The decision to invite representatives from Russia and Iran to awards ceremony was criticised over Ukraine war and human rights violations.
Several Swedish lawmakers said on Friday, September 1, 2023, that they would boycott this year’s event after the foundation changed its position from a year earlier and invited representatives of the three countries to attend the awards event.
In a press release issued on Saturday, September 2, 2023, the Nobel Foundation noted that its decision to invite all Ambassadors to the Nobel Prize award ceremony, in accordance with previous practice, has provoked “ strong reactions.”
In the release, the Foundation revealed that the basis for the decision to invite representatives from Russia, Belarus and Iran “is that we believe that it is important and right to reach out as widely as possible with the values and messages that the Nobel Prize stands for. ”
It noted, however, that the strong reactions “completely overshadowed this message.”
“We, therefore, choose to repeat last year’s exception to regular practice – that is, to not invite the Ambassadors of Russia, Belarus and Iran to the Nobel prize award ceremony in Stockholm.”Nobel Foundation
In 2022, the Nobel Foundation, which organises the annual Nobel prize ceremony and banquet in Stockholm, decided not to invite the Russian and Belarusian ambassadors to the awards event because of the war in Ukraine.
It made the same decision regarding the Iranian envoy over the country’s crackdown on protests.
However, the foundation disclosed on Friday, September 1, 2023, that it was returning to its previous practice of inviting Ambassadors from all countries represented in Sweden, triggering a wave of angry reactions.
Swedish Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson, registered his disagreement with the foundation’s decision. “I would not have done it if I were handling invites to an award ceremony and I understand that it upsets many people in both Sweden and Ukraine,” he told a news agency.
Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, Oleg Nikolenko also noted that the foundation should support efforts to isolate Russia and Belarus as “millions of Ukrainians suffer from an unprovoked war and the Russian regime is not punished for its crimes”.
Meanwhile, Belarusian opposition figure, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, called on the Swedish Nobel Foundation and the Norwegian Nobel Committee not to invite representatives of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s “illegitimate regime to any events.”
Last year, the Norwegian Nobel Institute still invited all Ambassadors to the Peace Prize ceremony it organises in Oslo, and it disclosed that this would be the case again this year.
“As before, all Ambassadors will be invited to the ceremony in Oslo,” it noted.
Oleg Nikolenko Welcomes New Decision
Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, Oleg Nikolenko called the reversal a “victory for humanism.”
“We thank everyone who demanded the restoration of justice,” Nikolenko noted in a Facebook post.
“We are convinced that a similar decision should be made regarding the Russian and Belarusian Ambassadors to Oslo,” he added.
In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Swedish Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson also welcomed the new decision.
“The many and strong reactions show that the whole of Sweden unambiguously stand on Ukraine’s side against Russia’s appalling war of aggression,” Kristersson said.
This year’s Nobel Prize winners will be announced in early October. The laureates are then invited to receive their awards at prize ceremonies on December 10, the anniversary of award founder, Alfred Nobel’s death in 1896.