Sri Lanka to skip Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony

Colombo, Dec 8 (DPA) Sri Lanka is to skip the ceremony at which the Nobel Peace Prize is to be presented to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, a government official in Colombo said Wednesday.

‘The government has decided that Sri Lanka’s ambassador will not be accepting the invitation to attend the function,’ a Foreign Ministry spokesman said without giving reasons.

The award ceremony for the Chinese dissident writer, who is serving an 11-year prison sentence for subversion, is scheduled for Friday in Oslo, Norway.

The decision was taken by Sri Lanka after other countries, including Russia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Sudan and Cuba, also decided not to attend the event.

The boycott is seen as a move to show solidarity with the Chinese government.

China has become the biggest lender to Sri Lanka in support of development programmes after the end of the 26-year conflict with the Tamil rebels.

Last year, China overtook Japan as Sri Lanka’s biggest lender, providing $1.2 billion of loans. The first phase of a Chinese-funded $1.5-billion port project was commissioned last month.

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