Nuke power envoys to snub Nobel event

OSLO • Breaking with tradition, nearly all ambassadors of the world's nuclear powers will not attend this year's Nobel Peace Prize ceremony which honours efforts to ban atomic weapons, the Nobel Institute said yesterday.

Russia and Israel will be the only exceptions, with their ambassadors due to attend.

"They clearly received instructions to express their reservations towards Ican (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) and the global treaty" to ban weapons of mass destruction, the head of the Nobel Institute, Mr Olav Njolstad, told AFP.

The Peace Prize was awarded on Oct 6 to Ican, a coalition of non-governmental organisations lobbying for a historic treaty banning atomic weapons, which was signed in July by 122 countries. The treaty remains largely symbolic, as none of the nuclear powers have signed it.

Ican will receive its prize at a lavish ceremony in Oslo on Dec 10.

During a meeting in the Norwegian capital last week, the United States, France and Britain told the institute of their decision to be represented by their embassy's second-in-charge. Noting that the treaty comes "at a time of increased danger of nuclear proliferation", the US embassy confirmed its lower level of participation. Without mentioning North Korea by name, it stressed that "this treaty ignores the current security challenges that make nuclear deterrence necessary", and reiterated Washington's support of the 1968 global non-proliferation treaty.

The Nobel Institute said the ambassadors of India and Pakistan will be travelling at the time of the ceremony, while China has not attended the prize-giving since 2010, when a Chinese dissident was awarded the honour.

North Korea does not have an embassy in Oslo.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 01, 2017, with the headline 'Nuke power envoys to snub Nobel event'. Print Edition | Subscribe