Who`s staying away from Nobel peace ceremony

Those staying away are Afghanistan, Algeria, China, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tunisia, Venezuela & Vietnam.

Updated: Dec 10, 2010, 17:42 PM IST

Oslo: Around 20 countries including China
have refused Norway`s invitation to today`s ceremony awarding
the Nobel Peace Prize to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiabao.

Most have close ties to China, do not want to anger
Beijing or have a tendency to take a hard line against their
own dissidents.

Those who have said they are staying away are
Afghanistan, Algeria, China, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, Iraq,
Iran, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sri
Lanka, Sudan, Tunisia, Venezuela and Vietnam.

Ukraine and the Philippines had at first declined their
invitations, but Nobel Institute director Geir Lundestad
yesterday said they had changed their minds.

Serbia, which had initially refused the invitation,
yesterday said it would be sending a representative after all.

At the same time, said Lundestad, "we believe that
Argentina will not be coming, or at least will not be
represented by the ambassador."

Russia, which signed trade agreements with China last
month worth USD 8.5 billion, has officially pleaded prior
engagements for its absence.

Other countries like Pakistan and Sri Lanka have economic
and defence ties with China, while Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia
supply it with oil.

Iran also relies on Chinese support in the UN Security
Council to fight sanctions against its nuclear programme, and
will not have forgotten the Peace Prize awarded to one of its
own dissidents, Shirin Ebadi, in 2003.

Most of the 65 countries with embassies in Oslo will be
represented, including Western powers from the European Union
and the United States, as well as Japan, which has a
territorial dispute with China.

Emerging economic powers which are potential rivals
rather than partners of China will also be there, including
Brazil, lndia, Indonesia, South Africa and South Korea.

PTI