|Annan, Clinton possible to get a say in Nobel Prize
International figures such as Kofi Annan and Hillary Clinton could get a say in who wins the Nobel Peace Prize, as a recent spat with China pushes Norway to spread responsibility for the award.
Norway is still suffering the fall-out from the Nobel committee's decision to award the prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in 2010.
Although Norway's government had no say in the decision, China was furious. It has frozen trade talks, cancelled ministerial exchanges and greatly reduced salmon imports.
Norway has desperately tried to rebuild ties, even refusing to meet the Dalai Lama, another Nobel peace laureate, when he visited the Scandinavian country earlier this month.
The dispute has triggered a debate in Norway over how to convince the rest of the world that the Nobel committee is not an extension of the country's government.
"The committee must absolutely consider opening itself to more diverse people, including the possibility to admit foreigners,'' said the director of Oslo's Peace Research Institute, Kristian Berg Harpviken, who has long been a supporter of reforming the committee.
Foreign countries can certainly be forgiven for questioning the independence of the committee.
As per Alfred Nobel's instructions, members of the committee are appointed by Norway's parliament and they tend to prefer people with a background in politics.
The current head of the committee, Thorbjoern Jagland, is a former prime minister no less.
"Seasoned politicians have their place in it, but the recruitment should be expanded, firstly to have more varied competences, and secondly, to have a committee that is less of a reflection of Norwegian politics,'' said Harpviken. --AFP