Nineteen countries decline Nobel ceremony invite: organisers

OSLO, December 7, 2010 (AFP) – Nineteen countries will shun Friday’s Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo for jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel Institute said, following Chinese pressure for a global boycott. “You only have to look at the figures. The vast majority of countries invited will be represented,” Nobel Institute director Geir Lundestad told AFP on Tuesday.

According to the Nobel Institute, 44 embassies have accepted invitations to the event while 19 have refused “for various reasons” and two have not replied.

Besides China, the countries who have declined to attend the ceremony in the Oslo city hall are: Afghanistan Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sudan, Tunisia, Ukraine, Venezuela and Vietnam.

Algeria and Sri Lanka had not yet responded to their invitations by the end of the day Monday.

China has threatened there will be “consequences” for countries that show their support for Liu, and China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu in Beijing told reporters Tuesday that “the vast majority of the international community will not attend the ceremony.”

“More than 100 countries support us,” she sai