x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

China and 18 countries to skip Nobel Peace Prize event

China and 18 other countries including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, have opted out of this year's Nobel Peace Prize ceremony honouring Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

OSLO // China and 18 other countries have declined invitations to attend Friday's Nobel Peace Prize ceremony for Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said on Tuesday.

It said the countries were: Russia, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Serbia, Iraq, Iran, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Venezuela, the Philippines, Egypt, Sudan, Ukraine, Cuba and Morocco.

The envoys of these countries will miss the lavish event "for various reasons", it said in a statement.

The Nobel committee has said that China had carried out an unprecedented campaign to keep envoys away from the gala for Liu, who is serving an 11-year jail term for his calls to boost human rights and democracy in China.

China has sent letters to foreign ministries and embassies urging diplomats to stay away from the ceremony and warned of "consequences" for those who support the pro-democracy activist. Beijing also put trade talks with Norway on hold.