Sweden’s prime minister said Friday he disagreed with the Nobel Foundation inviting the Russian ambassador to this year’s Nobel banquet, adding to growing criticism of the decision.
“The Nobel Foundation of course decides who they want to invite. But like many others, I was greatly surprised that Russia was being invited,” Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said in a written statement to AFP.
“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,” Ulf Kristersson added.
On Thursday, the Nobel Foundation — which organises the annual Nobel prize ceremony and banquet in Stockholm — said it would extend an invitation to all ambassadors of countries which have representation in Sweden or Norway.
In 2022, the Foundation decided not to invite the Russian and Belarusian ambassadors over the war in Ukraine, and the Iranian envoy over the country’s crackdown on a wave of protests.
“It is clear that the world is increasingly divided into spheres, where dialogue between those with differing views is being reduced,” Vidar Helgesen, the executive director of the Nobel Foundation, said in a statement.
“To counter this tendency, we are now broadening our invitations to celebrate and understand the Nobel Prize and the importance of free science, free culture and free, peaceful societies.”
Several prominent Swedish politicians, including the leaders of the Centre, Green and Left parties, have said they would boycott the event due to Russia’s invitation.
The glitzy bash is held each year in Stockholm on December 10 when laureates in the fields of medicine, physics, chemistry, literature and economics receive their awards from King Carl XVI Gustaf, followed by a gala banquet for around 1,200 guests.
A separate ceremony is held in Oslo on the same day for the Peace Prize laureate.
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