Foundation pulls invite to Russia, Belarus and Iran to attend Nobel Prize ceremonies

The Nobel Foundation revoked its invite to representatives from Russia, Belarus, and Iran to attend this year’s Nobel Prize award ceremonies, following strong backlash to its earlier decision to extend the invitation.

The backdrop: The decision to invite representatives from these three countries was met with strong reactions in Sweden, prompting several lawmakers to plan a boycott of the ceremonies.
* Reasons cited for the boycott included Russia’s ongoing conflict with Ukraine and Iran’s human rights issues.
* Belarusian opposition figure, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, urged the Nobel Foundation not to invite representatives of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s “illegitimate regime”.
* Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson voiced his disapproval of the original decision.

The U-turn: In response to the backlash, the Nobel Foundation decided to withdraw the invitations to representatives of Russia, Belarus, and Iran to the Nobel Prize award ceremony in Stockholm.
* The Foundation stated this decision was taken as the controversy over the invites “completely overshadowed” the intended message of the Nobel Prize.
* Despite the withdrawal of these specific invites, the Foundation confirmed its usual practice of inviting all ambassadors to the Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo will continue.

Reaction on reversal: The reversal was lauded by politicians in Sweden and even received the approval of the Swedish Royal House.
* The Royal House’s spokesperson, Margareta Thorgren, described the change as positive.
* She confirmed that King Carl XVI Gustaf would, as usual, be distributing this year’s Nobel awards at ceremonies in Stockholm.

These events unfold as anticipation builds for the announcement of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates in early October, with the awards presented on December 10th.

View original article on NPR

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