BBC News: Nobel secretary regrets Obama peace prize

Originally posted at BBC News.

Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to US President Barack Obama in 2009 failed to achieve what the committee hoped it would, its ex-secretary has said.

Geir Lundestad told the AP news agency that the committee hoped the award would strengthen Mr Obama.

Instead, the decision was met with criticism in the US. Many argued he had not had any impact worthy of the award.

Mr Lundestad, writing in his memoir, Secretary of Peace, said even Mr Obama himself had been surprised.

“No Nobel Peace Prize ever elicited more attention than the 2009 prize to Barack Obama,” Mr Lundestad writes.

“Even many of Obama’s supporters believed that the prize was a mistake,” he says. “In that sense the committee didn’t achieve what it had hoped for”.

He also reveals that Mr Obama considered not going to pick up the award in Norway’s capital, Oslo.

His staff enquired whether other winners had skipped the ceremony but found this has happened only on rare occasions, such as when dissidents were held back by their governments.

“In the White House they quickly realised that they needed to travel to Oslo,” Mr Lundestad wrote.

Mr Lundestad served as the committee’s influential, but non-voting, secretary from 1990 to 2015.

He has broken with the tradition of the secretive committee, whose members rarely discuss proceedings.

Read more at BBC News.

 

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