A former Nobel Peace Prize chief has said that he deeply regrets awarding the Peace Prize to Barack Obama in 2009.
Ex-secretary Geir Lundestad said that the award was given to Obama in the hope that it would strengthen him, but on reflection the award did the opposite.
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“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.