ADDS STATEMENT FROM CROTIA, PROTESTS IN STOCKHOLM
By Fatjon Cuka, Seyyid Emin, Dzihat Aliju
TIRANA, Albania (AA) - Albania will boycott this year’s Nobel prize award ceremony in protest against the literature award being given to Peter Handke, a denier of the 1992-1995 Bosnian genocide, an Albanian official said Monday.
The ceremony will be held in Sweden on Dec. 10.
“Justification of war atrocities during the Yugoslavia break-up must not be rewarded,” Gent Cakaj, Albania’s acting foreign minister, said on Twitter.
“Consistent with our initial reaction, we have also instructed the Ambassador of #Albania to #Sweden to boycott @NobelPrize ceremony for #Handke,” Cakaj added.
He also said that giving awards to those who deny the genocide “will solely strengthen the state of denial that must be overcome and strongly condemned.”
The Austrian writer’s winning of the Nobel prize has sparked reactions in several countries, particularly in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo.
Later in the day, Croatia also announced that it will boycott the award ceremony in protest against the award being given to Handke, the country’s Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs said on Twitter.
International journalists and academicians who gathered in Stockholm called on the Nobel prize committee to change their minds about awarding Handke, who also defends Serbian war criminals.
Handke is known as a great admirer of former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, who died in detention at the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague in 2006.
"Stand up if you support the Serbs," Handke had written during the 1998-1999 Kosovo war.
He claimed that Muslim Bosniaks in Sarajevo had killed themselves and that he never believed that the Serbs had committed genocide in Srebrenica.
Handke also visited Milosevic in prison and tried to testify in his favor.
"I am here for Yugoslavia, for Serbia, for Slobodan Milosevic," he said in a 2006 eulogy for Milosevic.
Handke will receive 9 million Swedish krona ($944,279) as well as a medal and a diploma.
*Writing by Burak Dag