Tags: nobel | obama | oslo

Obama Irks Oslo Ahead of Nobel

Thursday, 10 Dec 2009 02:02 PM

By Dave Eberhart

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Newly minted Nobel Laureate Barack Obama has stirred up some bad feelings in Oslo, Norway by opting out of a round events traditionally attended by the prizewinner – not the least of which is lunch with the King of Norway.

According to a report by the U.K.’s Guardian, Obama has scratched off a dinner with the Norwegian Nobel committee, a press conference, a television interview, appearances at a children's event promoting peace, a music concert -- as well as a visit to the exhibition that honors him at the Nobel peace center.

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A local poll found that 44 percent of Norwegians believe it was rude of Obama to nixl his scheduled lunch with King Harald, with only 34 percent responding that they believe it was okay.

"Of all the things he is cancelling, I think the worst is cancelling the lunch with the king," said Siv Jensen, the leader of the largest party in opposition, the populist Progress party. "This is a central part of our government system. He should respect the monarchy," she said, according to the Guardian report.

However, the Norwegian Nobel committee has been somewhat less critical of the perceived breaches in etiquette.

"We always knew that there were too many events in the program. Obama has to govern the U.S. and we were told early on that he could not commit to all of them," conceded Geir Lundestad, secretary of the committee.

Meanwhile, peace activists opposed to the Afghanistan war held an unscheduled demonstration in honor of the American prize winner.

The Nobel peace committee has been under fire for awarding Obama the greatly coveted Peace Prize so early in his tenure as the titular head of the Free World.

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